By Fleur Heazlewood
Many of the people I coach and mentor are regularly overwhelmed by competing priorities, reactionary work requests, limited communication, reduced resources, prolonged stress and excessive work hours. For many, these working patterns started as the result of a temporary change at work – a staff member leaving and not being replaced, the merging of departments, a new client coming on board – which were absorbed at the time only to become the new norm months after the ‘temporary’ event has passed.
A recent UK study* has shown that organisations continuing to focus on headcount reduction as an ongoing cost reduction strategy experience intensifying managerial labour and created an environment in which managers increasingly feel the necessity to work harder, to work faster, to increase their volume of work, work longer hours with an erosion of control over how they do their jobs. As a result of the pace, scale and intensity of change and often overlapping waves of change, manager’s views of organisational change were overwhelmingly negative: 68% experienced reduced job security, 70% reduced morale, 64% reduced motivation and 53% experienced reduced wellbeing at work.
When embarking on organisational change, it is imperative for senior management to fully consider the impact on the volume and pace of work that those affected by the change will have to cope with. A successful, sustainable change plan must support employee transition and wellbeing in addition to any technical, process and structural change projects. Contact us for consultancy support in this area.
Resilience is emerging as a new core skill for managing in an environment when change is the norm. Resilience is simply defined as the quality that enables people to bounce back when life knocks them over. The good news is that all of us are born with resilience, and we all have the ability to increase our resilience. The major factor in determining how we deal with the obstacles in the road in front of us is our attitude.
As individual managers we can’t always control the obstacles or blocks in our path, but we can choose how we deal with them. Skills we can develop that will support our resilience and wellbeing include self-awareness, flexibility, focus, mindfulness, boundary setting and enforcing, accountability, self-care, confidence and creating effective support networks.
* UK Study: Worral, L and Cooper C.L, (2012) The quality of working like 2012: Managers’ wellbeing, motivation and productivity. The CMI/ Simplyhealth Quality of Working Life Survey. London. CMI