The following are some ideas that may assist you to support your staff on the cultural change journey. Supported staff will make your job a lot easier and more rewarding and see a smoother pathway to successful cultural change.
It is important that right from the onset of the change process that staff are included in decision-making.
Check in on staff regularly on a one-to-one basis.
Remember to consider and value the personal challenges and the learning a person may be undertaking by working in a direct support role.
Understanding the importance of self-awareness is invaluable in work of this nature for both the client and the employee. Providing a space for this to be discussed in regular catch ups or in staff meetings through education sessions would be valuable.
Ensure that you are what you are trying to inspire staff to change to within the culture. Be aware that the effects of culture change on staff can directly impact clients and, therefore, your leadership within the change process plays an integral role in the direct care of clients. This can impact directly on the care they receive. You cannot separate your leadership and the outcomes of clients as they are connected directly.
It is essential for you to have a deep understanding of the reason for the cultural shift and discuss with mentors any inhibitions you may have before undergoing the change as it requires your total commitment.
Be prepared for resistance and see this as something that can give you information to assist you with the change plan. Don’t be resistant to resistance. Opposition to the cultural change from staff members does not need to be received as negative. Questions and resistance can find us answers, teach us and deepen our knowledge. It can help confirm the commitment to the change process for others. There are many reasons for a person to feel opposed to change and this can be discussed with the person by providing a safe, non-threatening space for them. This requires you as a leader to be open and honest at all times, supportive, understanding and a good listener. Again, your leadership should follow the principles of the cultural change. When working with those that are resistive, try to understand their point of view and validate the way they are feeling. Teach them what the essence of the cultural change is through the way you work with and support them. It is easy for your energy to be chewed up by those that are resistive or negative, so make sure you save adequate energy for those that are positive and enthusiastic. Talk one on one with those you feel are undermining the process. Try to understand more holistically where they opposition is coming from. It may be from a place of fear or it may be that their job was the only safe constant they had in their life and now it is changing. They may feel threatened, they may feel that the need for change means all the work they have been doing up until now was meaningless, wrong or undervalued.
You may find that you have several different places staff will find themselves within the change process. There may be some that openly support the change, some that support the change but feel they cannot express their support, or some that oppose it and some that don’t care either way. This can be a direct expression of the culture as it exists. An understanding or where your staff sit with the change is important as they will all require support for different reasons.
There is often much power play between staff members and understanding those that may be victimised by other staff members is important from the start.
Empowering staff to change should not only happen as a whole but on a more individual level. Identifying key factors about a person and their commitment to change and their overall approach to their work can assist you in finding ways to empower them in unique ways that tailors to their individuality.
Allow staff to express how they are feeling and listen. Isn’t that an outcome we want for the clients?
The way staff often respond to change can be an indicator of the existing culture and owning that your leadership or the leadership before you played a part in that is important. Acknowledging this is not only important for your leadership development but can be personally empowering.
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