There is one thing that is a constant within any organization which is change. Change is undeniable and inevitable. Change is what leads to progress. Structures, procedures, systems and policies and systems or just a few forms of change which an organization will use when utilizing change. When an organization undergoes goes there is a focus on the behaviors as well as the results based production delivered by its employees. When employees engage themselves in the change process while taking ownership of the processes in place, the organization will obtain value. Management at the executive level to the supervisors on the front line will all play a role in the process of change. The following will examine the roles of managers, change agents that are used, as well as the management’s role in combating resistance, and championing change.
Roles of Managers
“The ultimate goal of change management is to engage employees and encourage their adoption of a new way of doing their jobs.” (“Change Management Learning Center”, 2014). There are several key management roles in the change process such as a project team, intermediate level managers and supervisors and finally executives and senior management. Senior-level managers and executives have many roles such as visibility and participation throughout the entire duration of the project, communicate with employees, manage resistance and build a group of strong leaders for the future. An effective way to predict the success of a project is through strong leadership. Front line supervisors and intermediate-level managers also manage resistance in addition to the roles of coaching, advocating, communicating and acting as a liaison for upper management to the individuals. Employees prefer hearing the risks and rewards that come from change and how it will affect the staff on a day to day basis from their direct manager as this is who they built a report with. Managers act as the voice of the organization and must be advocates of change whether they agree with it or not. The manager’s job is to prevent resistance from employees, take direction while providing feedback to the team and helping with the individual transitions of the employees.
When dealing with the change process, the role of the individual is the acceptance of altering the day to day operations while using the solutions of change. The employees are in charge of controlling the changes and alterations in their particular division or area. The employees also act as the main source of feedback regarding the changes as they are on the “front line” and see all of these changes first hand.
Whether the organization is large or small, it will need a change agent to undergo the change process. A change agent is defined as “individual or group that undertakes the task of initiating and managing change in an organization” (Lunenburg, 2010). A change agent will either be internal, which consists of managers, supervisors or any employee that is in charge of the over-sight of the change, or external, which consists of any third party firms or consultants.
Internal Change Agents
Internal change agents consist of individuals that provide training, knowledge, personal perspectives, procedures in problem solving, skill building, data gathering to evaluate processes and assistance with team learning within groups. Internal changes agents will invest themselves personally in the change and have knowledge of the organization’s culture, issues, employees and environment.
External Change Agents
External change agents are used to make large organizational overhauls and massive changes. These change agents are brought in from outside the
organization and are used to provide an unbiased perspective of the situation and push the organization to think outside of the norm.The draw-backs of external change agents are availability ( as they will have other clients), cost, and time ( to become familiar with the way the organization runs its business).
The first step in combating resistance is to realize that not all employees are going to resist the changes. Once the employees who do resist are identified it’s important for management to identify how each employee will respond best when feeling resistant. Managers would be best served looking for signs of resistance that include sabotage, blaming and intimidation. Once these symptoms have been identified management must utilize the correct approach with which they use for the employee. Some of these approaches include:
Resistance Cycle- This approach includes the psychological stages such as resistance and denial. Situational Approach- This is a combination of six methods that range from communication to education to implicit and explicit coercion. Thought Self-Leadership- This process involves leading through persuasion using the thoughts of the individual. Successful leadership involves identifying and understanding the differences between the two styles of resistance, passive and active. Once this is done, action may be taken to squash any resistance the employees have created.
Championing change begins in the hiring and grooming process. Organizations are committed to choosing the best available candidates that will flourish and blossom into the leaders of the future. The organization must identify the changes they are looking to make and then choose employees that will best format to those changes, Once the employees have been selected, they must be given all the tools needed to transition the organization to where it wants to go, this includes training and education. Finally, feedback needs to be given throughout the process to ensure that all agreed upon changes are being completed successfully and are accomplishing desired objectives. There is one thing that is a constant within any organization which is change. Change is undeniable and inevitable. Utilizing change agents, having active leadership and management with the ability to communicate, and sustaining a positive relationship with the employees are sure fire ways to ensure a seamless transition through change.
Change Management Learning Center. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-job-roles-mod2.htm Lunenburg, F.C. (2010). Managing Change: The role of the change agent. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 13(1), 1-6. Retrieved from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C. %20Managing%20Change%20The%20Role%20of%20Change%20Agent%20IJMBA,%20V13%20N1%202010.pdf