Once people are over the initial shock of a sudden or major change then often they will become angry. This can be because:

  • They don’t want change (not many of us do!)
  • They think it will cause them harm of some kind
  • They don’t feel those enforcing the change have the right to do so

Some of your team will have a short, sharp burst of anger and then move on. Others might just allow it to fester quietly and express it around the proverbial water cooler.

However the anger is expressed, the key is to listen. Arguing to convince them that it is the right thing to do will be detrimental. At this stage they are led by irrational fears, which arguing will do little to quell.

Listen actively by asking follow-on questions, allowing them to express themselves but within set parameters e.g. they aren’t allowed to level personal attacks. It isn’t helpful to anyone if they start having a ‘right go’.

Once they have expressed their feelings then simply and gently restate why the change is occurring and how you can both help make the process smoother and have a better outcome.