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😞 Is Your Stress Response Preventing Change?

change leader resilience wellbeingatwork Mar 16, 2023
Change Leader Insights

Stress can be a major obstacle to organizational change. The problem? For many of us, stress is our default setting.

We’ve become so accustomed to dealing with stress, we may not even realize we’re constantly coping in “fight or flight” mode instead of operating from a place of “rest and digest”, which is a more relaxed state of being.
When stress responses become activated, our ability to think clearly, problem-solve, and make decisions decreases. Executive functioning gets disabled, and everything – including change – gets filtered through an internal lens that’s main focus is on survival.
In the workplace, survival looks like maintaining one’s status, resources, opportunities for advancement, recognition, competency, confidence, and value.
And, when survival is the vibe, change and innovation become an uphill battle.
Knowing how to manage and prevent unnecessary stress in the workplace can be the key to creating an environment primed for organizational change.

Leaders should be mindful of how their own stress response may be influencing the change process and take steps to reduce it. Effective strategies include clarifying team goals and priorities, clearly communicating those priorities on a regular basis with the team, re-prioritizing the work when needed, acknowledging the challenges, coaching with compassion, and recognizing that everyone’s best will look different depending on the day.
And of course, modeling the way forward. Take care of yourself, take time off (rest is essential for growth and resilience), and take time to recognize people for their efforts. This includes your analysts and frontline workers, as well as your senior leadership team. Everyone, regardless of their title, needs to hear “you’re doing a good job” from time to time.  💙

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