By Mark Richards
Change in the workplace can be difficult and stressful for the people it affects.
Therefore, leaders and managers in schools need to have a solid understanding of how to successfully implement and embed change. Change is inevitable The need for change in a school setting is an inevitability every once and a while.
Sometimes it occurs naturally, such as when new staff join the team or when there are changes to exams and the curriculum.
At the best of times, these can be unsettling periods for some, if not all, staff.
Because of this, any process of change needs to be planned and then managed and monitored carefully to ensure that the change is successful. Raising staff awareness and managing shock Sometimes change is resisted by members of staff.
This can lead to conflict and can create a whole host of challenging and awkward situations.
Therefore, it makes sense to make all the relevant staff aware of the need for change well in advance.
Staff need to understand the need for change.
Occasionally, there is also an element of shock attached to the prospect of change.
Typically, shock is caused by a lack of information or a fear of the unknown.
Similarly, it’s only natural for staff to be anxious that they might end up doing something wrong.
This is why careful planning and excellent communication are so important. Dealing with denial Many people fear change.
This means that a major aspect of managing change effectively is having the ability to deal with the denial that you may encounter.
Again, this type of denial is only natural.
It’s easy for people to become settled and comfortable with the status quo.
Often people can feel threatened or intimidated by the thought of having to change.
And a further emotion caught up in all of this is a fear of failure. Because of all of these factors, it’s common for people to keep their focus on the past.
They might argue that everything was find as it was, so there is no need to change.
Dealing with this kind of denial is crucial.
If it isn’t dealt with then the next stage that follows can be one of frustration, anger and resentment.
It’s all too easy for suspicion and scepticism to turn into something that is more toxic and destructive. Remaining positive is the key As with many things in schools, you should never underestimate the importance of positivity.
Even with the most difficult of classes, teachers know that maintaining a smile on your face (even if it is forced!), and always remaining positive with students is vital.
Similarly, even if you are managing change that you don’t necessarily agree with, keeping upbeat and having a positive ‘can-do’ mindset and attitude in a team is a key ingredient of successful change. All in all, managing change is all about appreciating that all staff are individuals.
Everybody has their own agenda, worries, concerns and ambitions.
As a manager, you need to understand what makes a colleague tick – and consider how the change might affect them – before the process has begun.
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