Managing personal responses to change
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Managing personal responses to change
  • The transition curve
  • Phase one—denial
  • Phase two—anger
  • Phase three—resigned acceptance
  • Phase four—acceptance

Managing personal responses to change

When faced with change people may react in many different ways. This can depend on factors such as:

  1. if the change is their choice or is being imposed upon them

  2. how great the change is

  3. if they have any input into the way the change will affect them

  4. if they have experienced changes in the past and whether they were successful

  5. if they agree with the change

  6. if the change presents threats to them

Typical feelings are anxiousness, excitement (it looks great on paper), denial (they’ll never do it), hopefulness and fear of the unknown.

The specific challenge within the public sector is that the changes are coming thick and fast in a series of continuous waves, meaning an individual may not have fully adjusted to one change before the next is being implemented. On top of this are the additional complications of unclear and mixed messages and a rumour mill going full tilt.

A manager may be reeling from changes that are affecting them, while at the same time, trying to manage and lead a team who are looking for guidance.

Communication is central to any change event—giving as much information as possible and engaging with and involving your team at every opportunity.

To implement change effectively, a realistic idea of how big the change will be and how it will affect

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