10 Tips For Handling Change in the Workplace

Written By: Dan Schawbel
July 2, 2014
5 min read

One of the attributes all employees need to have is being able to adapt to change. In this current economy, everyone is moving around from one company or group to the next. We’ve accepted that employees don’t stay in one role for life and one of the challenges that comes with that is to handle new situations that you haven’t before. In order to better handle change in the workplace, here are ten tips for you:

1. Maintain a positive attitude. You always have to be optimistic and maintain a good attitude, regardless of what new company, department or group you’re working with. Come to terms that your new situation might not be perfect but your previous situation probably wasn’t either. Think about how you can best leverage your skills, experiences and network to maximize your new role. If you have a negative a attitude, your new manager and co-workers will notice and they won’t want to work with you.

2. Recognize that change is constant. People have several careers and jobs in their lifetime and companies are constantly moving employees from group to group based on current needs. You will have change happen to you whether you like it or not so you must accept that reality. The good thing about change is that it prevents you from getting bored in your current role and challenges you to work on projects that you haven’t before.

3. Stay connected to previous co-workers. Never forget about the people you’ve already had the chance to work with because they could become extremely beneficial to you down the road. If they are staying with your previous group or moving around, you could tap them to help you on a project. They could also become your lifeline back to your previous group or a different group within your company (or at another company).

4. Communicate with others to learn your new role. After you get moved into your new role, you should quickly find all of the stakeholders that you rely on and connect with them. Find those that have already been in your role and get them to teach you everything you need to know so you can get up to speed. Become good at asking questions because the more you know, the better equipped you will be in this role and the easier your life will be. If you wait too long to reach out to them, your performance will start lacking and people will notice.

5. Be optimistic even though you might not be currently happy. Regardless if you like your new role or not, you need to make the best of it. Who knows what a year or more in this role can really do for you. You might also move again soon after starting. Think about the tasks you like in your current role and how to best use your strengths and increase your performance.

6. Self-reflect. Take some time to relax and think about what you’ve already accomplished and what your goals are for your new role. Think about what skills you need to acquire, who you need to meet and assess your entire situation. Talk with your new manager so that they realize what you’re looking to get out of the role and set expectations for the deliverables you’re going to be working on.

7. Learn new skills. You naturally are forced to learn new skills based on the type of work you have to do for your job. Make a list of skills that are required for your new role and invest time each week in developing those skills. For each skill, give yourself a deadline to master it so that you can quickly become an expert and increase your value.

One skill many employees are learning today is how to improve processes and build business applications using a no-code platform. You don’t have to know how to code in order to build apps with Quickbase. If manual processes are slowing you down at work and you think you want to improve a process to help your team, the free Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace PDF guide might be helpful for you. It will give you the skills you need to get started with process improvement.

8. Over communicate. Whether you’re working from an office or working from a remote office, you should constantly be in touch with your new colleagues. They need to know that you’re responsible, that you’re getting the work done and that you exist. When you’re emailing them, or in a meeting, make sure to clarify what you or they say so that everyone is on the same page.

9. Ask as many questions as possible. There are no bad questions unless you ask something that has already been asked or explained. Come up with a list of questions and as you receive the answers, write them down. This way, you can show people that you’re paying attention to what they have to say. Asking questions will help you further develop yourself in the new role.

10. Look for ways to help others cope with change. One of the best ways to deal with your new position is to help others get situated while you are trying to yourself. By doing this, you feel more comfortable because you realize that others are going through what you are. In addition, by helping others in this way, they will be more inclined to want to help you in return.

Written By: Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. His new book, a New York Times best seller, is called Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin's Press) and his previous book, Me 2.0, was a #1 international bestseller.

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