As an administrator, you’ve seen firsthand how difficult and time-consuming it can be to get your faculty and staff invested in a new policy or initiative. For many long-time staff members, change is especially hard — but it doesn't have to be. By using your position as a school leader, and a few key tactics, you can make it easier for everyone to adapt.
The most common reasons why people resist change revolve around a lack of information. Whether it's because individuals feel left out of the decision-making process or because they don't understand the rationale behind the change, supplying the necessary details before implementation can go a long way toward ensuring a successful buy-in. Here's how:
Provide ample warning
Surprises that impact the day-to-day routine or employees' livelihoods are typically not as well-received. Lack of preparation increases the likelihood that you'll meet resistance — or at least reluctance — to embrace the change. Instead, incorporate enough time into your implementation plan to get your staff on board and provide any necessary training in advance.
Be as transparent and specific as possible
When introducing or addressing a change, your staff are likely going to have questions. In order to both maintain trust and help everyone understand the new changes and how they will be affected, it's important to be transparent and honest when communicating this information.
Three points to include when making your case about the change:
- It's feasible
- It’s in the best interest of everyone (the institution, the students and the staff)
- It will be lasting
As a leader, you should be one of your institution's best listeners. That means that once you've delivered all of the necessary information, it's crucial that you take a step back and really listen to what your staff has to say. After they've had an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns honestly, discuss any issues they've raised as thoroughly as possible. Schedule a time to address any future concerns as well.