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So much is changing right now in our lives. Normal working life has been disrupted, businesses are refocusing and job security is shaky.

What does that feel like ?

Change is not new in organisations and a useful model for how people go through change at work is the Transition Curve. It describes typical responses as people have to change their job focus and ways of doing things.

The stages are described below with tips for how a good Team Leader should get people through.

Consider where you may be and what you can be doing to help everyone along.

Stage 1 SHOCK is when the change is first introduced. People may initially feel some level of surprise and disbelief. They may refuse to discuss changes or put off anything to do with these changes.

  • Provide opportunities for people to express their feelings

  • Listen

  • Continually communicate the changes

  • Focus individual team members on priorities

In Stage 2 AWARENESS people become aware of the impact of the change and can become negative including about the possibility of success. They may become critical of you, their colleagues and themselves.

  • Respect people's emotions. Stage 1 and 2 are stressful.

  • Help them to see opportunities

  • Ask them about possibilities of new or better ways of working

Stage 3 ACCEPTANCE is where there is still some confusion and doubt but there are signs that people are beginning to accept the change. There may be offers to do alternative work, agreement to work differently or other ideas and solutions suggested.

  • Emphasise you are all going through this together

  • Be receptive to ideas

  • Speak about opportunities and possibilities

At Stage 4 TESTING people begin to experience what the changes mean - both good and bad - and how they must adapt. They begin to test out what might work. They may need to work harder to practise the new way of doing things. They may be successful but there may also be frustration with having to learn new ways of doing things and may feel overwhelmed.

  • Give recognition for how people are adapting

  • Discuss future possibilities

  • Support people in trying new ideas


The change is now starting to become ‘normal’ or even to start feeling like routine. Old and new ways of doing things are integrated.

The situation is no longer new and ways of working become second nature.

  • Be appreciative of the efforts people have made

  • Communicate what has been learned

  • Celebrate future opportunities with the team

Team leaders may not be immune to the usual reactions to change - it actually may be more difficult for them as they have to put on a " brave face" - but by listening and sharing throughout you can make it better for everyone.


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