When something happens that is different, exciting, challenging, a little scary or absolutely terrifying, that’s change. Shouting, blaming, and complaining is what usually passes for management. Successfully moving through change, professional or personal, requires the ability to adapt quickly. However, not everyone steps toward understanding new processes and structures at the same pace, and unfortunately, those who are unable to effectively manage change get left in the dust.
Emotions are often the reason people stumble through change. Emotions are messy and problematic. They cause people to make snap judgments and irrational demands not only of others, but also of themselves. Identifying emotional stumbling blocks is not easy to do. One person’s crippling emotion is another person’s motivation. Take anger for instance, some people let anger spin them into spontaneous combustion while others use it to propel them onward and upward.
I am no stranger to change. I am no stranger to anger. Both can cripple and consume us. In the interest of self-preservation, I take a do or die attitude toward managing change. Raising children and supporting the career progression of a spouse can make a person abandon ambition to become a helper. I am a helper. It’s a role I embraced as a child out of necessity and tried like hell to leave behind when I became an adult. However, when life’s circumstances require me to get a grip, it’s the role I return to, and surprisingly, it’s the role that moves me, even now, through change.
My resume doesn’t read like a stellar success story of breaking through glass ceilings. I’ve worked for companies large and small, sometimes for exceptional compensation, sometimes for the deli tray and jeans day. I’ve been the new girl, the token female, and the surprise achiever. I’ve earned promotion, turned down promotion, and been so happy to escape a toxic work environment that I’ve spent the past six years working for free, helping others manage difficult change.
Change is unavoidable. Embracing change is essential to survival. Managing change is vital. It takes more than shouting, more than pointing fingers, more than stubborn pride, snap judgments and irrational demands. It takes humility, creativity, and determination. These are the characteristics of an effective leader…and helper.