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Wednesday
Mar282012

4. EQ skills 6-10: How to cope with change

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute.

Whether people have a low EQ, an average EQ or a superior EQ, they will still face changes on a regular basis at work and in their lives generally. There is no avoiding change.

Even the landscapes and the buildings we work in keep changing

Change is all around us, some of our choosing, much of it not. Just walk along any city street on your way to work and you will be surrounded by change.

Change is happening very fast too, probably faster than ever before in history. Keeping up with the speed of change and the types of change can be overwhelming at times.

It is important to manage the emotions associated with the changes.

Changes in the workplace are now happening all the time.

Workplace change no longer is an occasional event we have to deal with, but an ongoing pattern of change.

How we cope with change, though, is critically important for our emotional wellbeing and health. There is a lot you can do to manage change, simply by applying some emotional steps based on the principles of emotional intelligence and EQ.

This is the second article in a two-part series on the applications of emotional intelligence to managing change.

The first article covered EQ skills 1-5.

This second article covers EQ skills 6-10.

EQ skills 6: Find out the reasons behind the changes

You may not want to change because you can't see a need to change. 

Find the people who are instigating or wanting the changes and discuss their reasons with them rather than pre-judging them or dismissing the change out of hand.

However, see No 7.

EQ skills 7: Accept change without knowing the reasons

Sometimes, particularly in the work situation, you may not know why a change is being implemented.

When you ask the more senior people involved, they may not know either.

Instead of filling with resentment, which can harm you, sometimes it can be better to get on with the change and accept that you might never know.

This is emotional intelligence in action. You are taking care of your emotional wellbeing rather than getting stuck in resentments.

EQ skills 8: Understand the transition process

Change can induce a range of feelings in people. Even good changes, which you've chosen and you know are the right changes for you can result in anxiety or fear. These feelings are a normal part of the change process.

I can think of three major decisions I've taken in my life: getting married, emigrating to Australia and leaving a secure job I'd been in for 10 years. All of these decisions and changes resulted in some levels of anxiety, at some stage, even though all of them were three of the best decisions of my life and absolutely perfect for me. Did this mean I was low in emotional intelligence? No, not necessarily. Emotions are a normal part of change, good or bad. However, it is what I did as a result of the anxiety that would reflect my level of emotional intelligence. 

When emotions, such as anxiety arise during change, the whole situation can be easier when you acknowledge the emotions, tolerate them and move through them. In this way change will be easier to cope with.

EQ skills 9: Don't take change personally

When work changes are forced on you, such as redeployment, restructuring or redundancy, realise it is not likely to have anything to do with you.

The decision has probably been made for economic reasons, policy changes or political manoeuvring and not because your previous work has not been of value.

The people making the changes may not even know you! So have a slogan on your screensaver to remind you: "It's not personal. It's policy".

This is an emotionally intelligent way to helping yourself.

EQ skills 10: Take charge of your own change management

There are organisations, managers and supervisors who impose change on others in a very poor way.

As a client said to me recently, "Whatever the best practice in change management is, our organisation is the opposite".

Workers had not been consulted about changes, warned about changes or had the future explained to them.

Don't let poor change management sweep you away. Take control of your own change management.

  • Start writing a list of all the good things you've achieved in the past year on the job.
  • Tell other people the good things they've done.
  • Get together as a group to say goodbye to the good and bad sides of what is changing.

Invent your own coping with change rituals.

Just because other people don't manage change in an emotionally intelligent way, it doesn't have to stop you from managing it well.

Develop even more emotionally intelligent skills in managing change

There is so much that you can do to develop the emotional intelligence across your organisation and manage change well. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you:

  1. There is a high energy, interactive and practical workshop, "Emotionally ready for change".
  2. There is a dynamic keynote speech on change: "Watch out! Emotions of change matter" which will get your event buzzing and provide invaluable skills at the same time.
  3. There are CDs, DVDs and books particularly the unique and practical DVD programme, "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions". Bulk discounts are available for this so all your employees or team members may have their own copy.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.