Toxic Change in The Workplace
Have you ever experienced change in an organisation? Did you experience textbook, seamless change? That elusive change we all read and hear about, but have never been part of? Taking staff along with you, creating that upbeat message which motivates and makes all of your staff feel a valued part of the organisation? Positive change that openly displays the organisation’s leadership skills, listening skills, communication and consultation skills?
Where change has made your job easier, more rewarding, made all of the modifications that you had known for years needed to be introduced? It was as if the new guard had been reading your mind. A surreal alchemy of minds melding into one, where the working environment and business took off into the stratosphere with everyone on board. Leaving the business & employees, performing better, delivering for all of its customers, happy in their work, looking forward to a bright and prosperous future.
If so, I would love to hear from you. You are in a very select group, a bit like Lottery winners. In reality, most organisational change is not like this. The new hierarchy are often brought in with a specific agenda, to improve the bottom line by any means available. Often, outside appointments are made to effect the change more easily. There are no old alliances to contend with, no split loyalties. Knowing that reorganisation is coming however, can see productivity freeze on the run up to a takeover. People fear for their jobs and either jump ship to better offers or stay put in a state of paralysis.
The new “Team” march in and their agenda is rolled out. Very quickly, redundancies are made or offered, current staff are interviewed for their existing jobs. Tupied salaries are frequently altered / reduced to come into line with the mother ship. The purpose of the organisation is overlooked or put on the back burner whilst the takeover happens. The aim is to clear out and then reboot. Productivity takes a beating. Stress of staff is off the scale and sickness rates will rise dramatically.
The organisation however is transformed, but is it transformed for the better? Sometimes this will be the case, but all too often the change is imposed with a burnt earth policy that does not necessarily improve productivity and most certainly does not lift the morale of the previous staff. The dust settles and then in another 3 years the process begins again.
New management is brought in with sparkly ideas and the most current buzzwords, that will revolutionise the organisation. The paralysis, leave, sickness, reshuffle, sacking and settling process goes around again, until the next time. The carousel keeps turning and as there is very little that is new in life, the old gets reimagined into the new. Repackaged with new wrapping paper, tied off with a bow and presented as the next new best thing for the organisation.
Don’t Look Back!
The new leaders, often move from project to project, job to job. Having achieved excellent cost savings and stabilising the business, they move on. In their wake however, is a trail of untold devastation. But they have already removed the rear view mirror, as per the “Change Management” instruction manual. The job is done, change has been effected. Their money is safely in the Bank and they are onto the next challenge and up the corporate greasy pole.
Rarely is the human suffering that has been left behind even considered. It is just collateral damage, detritus, because often the people brought in for the job are unlikely to suffer from undue self reflection. They are self orientated, goal orientated and the cost to others is not part of their world. “It’s nothing personal. It’s just Business.”
Change Must be Handled Well
It seems to be the case, or perhaps I am jaundiced having experienced the management of change personally and vicariously on numerous occasions, that change is not generally handled well. Change for humans is scary and threatening Transitions into the Fall.
But I believe change should be positive. It should address all of those inadequacies that every organisation experiences. Listen to the staff and then make changes based on information, not bias. Change that is responsive to people who know their jobs inside out, who have a wealth of experience should be heard and honoured, because otherwise change is just the equivalent of a data dump. All is lost, nothing is sifted or saved, the baby is thrown out with the bath water.
In reality, there is always more that should be harvested than cremated. Yes, change is part of life, but it should be considered and thoughtful, based on intelligence gathering and enquiry, not on suppositions without having any foundations in fact. I am actually an ardent advocate of change & evolution.
Get Rid of Toxicity!
If you have experienced this type of change management, then the chances are that you remember it as if it was yesterday What is Trauma? The sick feeling in the gut. The overly fast beating heart. The fear for your future is embedded in your DNA. The talk of change management evokes a primal tremor throughout your body. The memories of the boss who came, stalked and conquered, is seared upon your consciousness.. This body held response is a sign of trauma and past toxicity Why We React, Rather Than Think….
Can you ever recover? Yes, but as with all things toxic, the body has to be cleared of the poison in order for recovery to ensue and a healthy mindset superimposed over the old patterns and beliefs. This management by fear can hold you back from your future success. But it does not have to be so.
We may be unable to change the leaders but we can change ourselves.
I offer 1:1 Coaching to unlock the toxicity from your body. 4 sessions for £400…it can change your future!
Laura Morrissey Counselling ( lauramorrisseycounselling.co.uk)