Managing change in the workplaceIn recent years, workers at all levels have felt the impact of change, from massive job layoffs to budget cuts to new management. 

For you, as a business professional in a managerial position, this means the choices are simple: either move forward, embracing newness and innovation or lose ground falling prey to your own deep-seated fear of the unknown.    

Whether fueled by the ongoing recession, the popularity of online career niche networking (think Twitter and LinkedIn) or the influx of Gen Y onto the workplace, today’s business approach is a far cry from yesterday’s. 

Recognizing this, the most visionary managers and leaders are revising strategies, updating skills and exploring new ways to stay competitive in a work environment rife with newness. 

And their first step toward meeting these goals is to learn more about themselves. 

1.  Do a Self-Assessment 

Having a clear understanding of personal weaknesses and strengths (and the reason for them) creates invaluable opportunities to grow, improve, create and stretch. It’s what drives true professionals to be the best they can be. 

Forward-thinking salespeople, for example, are using the recession’s down time to take a closer look at their individual sales techniques, paying special attention to how they typically generate good leads and reexamining what a good lead really is. What worked before isn’t producing the same results now so uncovering and utilizing new ways to better understand themselves in order to more effectively reach today’s very diverse prospects becomes critical. 

Individual sales personalities are also being reassessed and readapted. For example, those who are serious, all-business types are learning to display more emotion, especially when presenting to recession-battered prospects in need of a supportive friend, not a judgmental consultant. It’s now more important than ever to adapt a communication style to suit an audience. A long-winded, highly detailed sales presentation may not help establish rapport with a busy young couple looking for fast answers, but a brief and straightforward conversation might.   

When sales pros take the time to increase awareness about themselves, their marketing style, and the people they serve, their contribution becomes more personal and specific, more valuable.  

2.  Communicate with Others 

Communication is key when leading staff, enforcing policies and assessing performances. But merely having open, two-way discussions is probably no longer enough to promote success, enhance performance on the job and sustain employee loyalty. In today’s business world, choosing the right words, exhibiting the same goals and interests buys workplace productivity and satisfaction.   

Employees will put in that extra effort when they are honestly kept informed on aspects of their job and the business and they feel that they are being listened to with empathy. 

3.  Be Flexible

Of recent years, managing change at work has become part of everyone’s job description.

Top supervisors and departmental leaders know their innate business style but learn how to alter it to reach the wide array of personality types who are their staff. When speaking to Gen Y employees, for example, they often make it a point to sound technically astute while offering, helpful, mentoring advice. If older employees need direction, however, savvy leaders know it’s best to adopt a softer, more anecdotal, personal tone. 

Success-bound managers and leaders are receptive to change, eager to retrain, and ready to improve themselves. Are you?

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