Change is inevitable in any organization and may happen in the form of procedures, systems, structures, or policies (Carr, 2000). While managers and individuals may not actively perform formal roles in the development of the change management approach, they are vital in making organizational change successful and averting resistance to change.
In the change process, managers and individuals can act as communicators through the different ways and directions. They communicate the change to the employees in a language they understand and can relate to and allow them to see the impacts of not changing (Cameron & Green, 2004). Messages may be communicated from the top down to the bottom of the organization to the employees. Data and information will then be communicated upwards through the organization about how the employees are responding to the change. Thus managers and individuals should have access to the relevant information about the change and the business because communication is most effective when employees get aligned messages from the managers as the organizational leaders (Carr, 2000).
Managers may also play the role of coaches to provide support to their direct reports. Coaching is based on the trust and relationship existing between the employee and their immediate supervisor and allows the individuals to adopt the change without meeting any operational barriers (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 2003). Since change affects each individual member of the organization differently, unsuccessful transition may result in employee dissatisfaction hence lost productivity and turnover. Coaching may be in the form of a group or individual coaching.
Another role is advocacy to support, promote, and advertise the message of change to the whole organization. Managers do this by emphasizing the ease and benefits of making the change by personifying the future state of change. In change management process managers also play the liaison role to traverse the sides, current and future states, of a chasm which is the transitional phase. Liaison acts as a link between the operational delivery and the strategic leadership so that employees can understand the change (Cameron & Green, 2004).
Managers and individuals act as resistance managers in the change process since people are naturally afraid of the unknown and comfortable with the status quo (Starr, 2011). Managers thus identify the resistance and the areas it might emanate from and engage the employees in overcoming it.
The group or individual that is tasked with initiating and managing organizational change is called a change agent. The change agents may be internal whereby individuals or managers may be responsible for the change, or they may be external, for example consultants (Starr, 2011). Since the consultants are not subject to the organizational culture or politics, they bring a different situational perspective that effectively challenges the status quo.
The change agent may be people-change-technology type which focuses on the individual in that it is concerned with the employee morale and motivation, turnover, absenteeism, and work quality. It emphases goal setting, job enrichment, and modification of behavior with the assumption that change of individual behavior results to organizational change.
It may also be organization-development which focuses on the internal processes for instance, decision making, intergroup relations, and communication. They intervene through cultural change approach by thoroughly analyzing the organization’s culture.
Managers are responsible for the change process thus they should effectively consider their communication approach with employees, their actions, employee attitude and motivation as well as continuously improving the work environment to avoid resistance (Starr, 2011). This can be done through; realizing the value of employee collaboration, cooperation, and motivation in the workplace. They should understand that employees have differing opinions on change so they should interact with the employees to keep them updated on the change. Managers should thus be able to address the employees’ unfulfilled needs and the reasons for their resistance.
In implementing the change, managers should keep in mind the attitudes of employees and the negative responses for example denial and instability. They should guide the employees in the process and note the importance of motivation and listening to the employees’ ideas. Employees should feel appreciated in their participation in the change process. After implementing the change, communication should not stop (Starr, 2011). Managers should promote a forum for exchange of information and ideas. They should also emphasize new performance standards and make use of the first signs of resistance as warning signs.