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Change Management

Building Collaborative Relationships to Better Handle Change

March 13, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Change Management

When a manager wants change to come about quickly, he or she can sometimes create additional concerns and even additional resistance to accepting it. This may actually slow the process down and lead to individuals arguing about details that can be readily overcome with a more collaborative approach and attitude.

Adopt a calm and reasonable demeanor

Managers are best served to adopt a calm and reasonable demeanor when describing any transition that is required and then work with the individual(s) affected closely to deal with any concerns or issues that are foreseen. In other words, there is little profit in “demanding” a change or communicating that there is little choice but to accept it, especially when you may be reliant on other individuals to make it happen well (or even just accept it willingly).

There are four steps that can taken to help establish a more collaborative relationship in handling change:

  1. Listen to any genuine uncertainties or concerns (in a clam and reasonable way taking care not be unduly argumentative)
  2. Offer direct help or support to overcome any issues raised (and particularly in terms of how to make the transition.
  3. Agree a transitional plan taking care to sequence the steps that are likely to be necessary along the way, allowing sufficient time to help make the other individual(s) feel comfortable and not “railroaded.”
  4. Give the other individual(s) time and space to think or reflect and arrange another time ir times to discuss what might be done to accommodate any issues that still remain

Different strokes for different folks

Don’t forget, coping with change is easier for some than others. A one-size-fits-all approach therefore rarely works and you should take account of each person’s needs individually if you can.

The featured video clip is a short excerpt from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder eLearning program, Change Management: An RSB eLearning Course.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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