In an change effort, the worst leaders can do is to ignore the emotional aspect of the change process.
Impact organizations are 'people organizations.' The people are the lifeblood of the organization for which any discussion about growth, scaling-up, or stability is generally about how the people can be nurtured, developed, managed to get to your strategic objectives.
While the change management field is filled with approaches and strategies to slay resistance and achieve a transformational change that any CEO would be proud of, in general, emotions can get the better of any leader.
In a recent local change effort that I have studied, I noticed that the President in his speech only mentioned once that they will be compassionate with the people that will be affected by the change.
Being compassionate is one thing but before they begin to determine the extent of impact that changes will have on staff, they should have the following at the back-end:
1) increased relations with every one concerned, even before the impacts will be felt, communicating what is to come and determining the best method to resolve it without accruing undue stress for staff;
2) increased trust-building; a low level of trust does not engender cooperation to find the best solutions for all parties;
3) increasing the voice of employees, whether they have a say or not, they should be informed and their voices heard;
4) build a strong follow-through in your every action; no one wants to be left behind after a decision had been made from the top;
These are not good-t0-haves but are musts when it comes to managing the emotions, defusing tension, and building a more collaborative approach to solutions-finding.
When one think that people will take a very rationale approach to changes is a very unfounded reaction. People have built in resistance to anything that could disrupt or alter their existing comforts, positions, and privileges. Moving them along towards a better state means more work on the journey where denial, resistance, and low-energy can bring your efforts to a grinding halt or slow motion.
Emotions are powerful elements if used in a positive way. In reality, a negative emotion is a fact and must be managed well.
It's risky to do all these steps after you have announced a change or about to announce one.
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