When speaking to Nora Miller, President of Mississippi University for Women, on my “Empowering Women in Educational Leadership” October 25th episode, she said that sharing the “WHY” in your leadership journey is the best way to develop acceptance and trust.
In our fast-paced world, change is inevitable. Whether it’s in our personal lives or in the workplace, adapting to new circumstances is a constant challenge. However, what often makes change even more challenging is when information is withheld, leaving us in the dark about the reasons behind the changes. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of the WHY in navigating change, and how sharing the WHY can lead to greater acceptance, trust, and appreciation.
The Challenges of Withholding Information
Imagine a scenario where your workplace suddenly announces a significant change in the way projects are managed. You and your colleagues are left bewildered, with no clear understanding of why these changes are happening. In situations like this, frustration, anxiety, and resistance are common reactions. Without the WHY, it’s difficult for individuals to connect with the change, see its purpose, or envision a positive outcome.
The challenges of withholding information are many:
1. Uncertainty breeds fear: When people don’t know why something is happening, they tend to imagine the worst-case scenarios. This fear can paralyze individuals and hinder their ability to adapt.
2. Resistance to change: Without a clear understanding of the rationale behind the change, people are more likely to resist it. They may feel that the change is unnecessary or that it threatens their job security or well-being.
3. Lack of ownership and engagement: When people are kept in the dark, they may not feel a sense of ownership or responsibility for the change. They may see it as something imposed upon them rather than something they have a stake in.
The Comfort in Understanding the WHY
Now, let’s consider the same scenario with a different approach. Instead of withholding information, the organization communicates the WHY behind the changes. They explain the market forces, competitive pressures, or strategic goals that necessitate these changes. In this case, something remarkable happens even though the change may still be frustrating or unwanted, the mere fact that the WHY was shared makes the situation more acceptable.
Understanding the WHY provides several benefits:
1. Context and clarity: Knowing the reasons behind a change provides context and clarity. It allows individuals to see the bigger picture and understand how the change fits into the organization’s goals and objectives.
2. Reduced resistance: When people understand the WHY, they are more likely to accept and even support the change. They can see that it’s not arbitrary but driven by a legitimate need.
3. Empowerment: Sharing the WHY empowers individuals by giving them a sense of agency. They can see how their roles and actions contribute to the overall success of the organization.
Building Trust, Rapport, and Appreciation
Furthermore, sharing the WHY behind changes is a powerful tool for building trust, rapport, and appreciation within an organization. It demonstrates transparency and a commitment to open communication. Here’s how it fosters these essential elements:
1. Trust: Transparency breeds trust. When employees know that the organization is open about its decision-making processes and the reasons behind changes, they are more likely to trust its leadership.
2. Rapport: Open and honest communication fosters stronger relationships between leadership and employees. It creates an environment where individuals feel valued and heard.
3. Appreciation: When people understand the challenges and constraints the organization faces, they often develop a greater appreciation for the decisions made. Even if they don’t fully agree with the changes, they can recognize the thought and consideration that went into them.
In conclusion, the importance of the WHY cannot be overstated when it comes to navigating change. While it may be tempting for organizations to withhold information to avoid discomfort, doing so can lead to even greater challenges. On the other hand, sharing the WHY behind changes provides comfort, reduces resistance, and builds trust, rapport, and appreciation.
In a world where change is constant, embracing the WHY is a powerful tool for fostering a positive and adaptive organizational culture. For guidance along your journey, reach out to me for a free consultation at www.drstephanieduguid.com, I would love to help you!