Template 6.4.3: Working with Emotional Reactions to Change
Purpose
This template outlines possible emotional reactions to change that may be evident
at individual and team levels. It assists reection and conversations that can prompt
action.
How to use it?
Consider the questions below and use them to prompt conversations within the team –
agree actions that will address issues that arise.
No. Key considerations Actions
1. Do the change leaders need support to understand people’s emotional reactions during
change? Do people feel supported by the organisation leadership? Is a support plan in
place?
2. Are there legacy issues from past change efforts that need to be considered?
Has the pace of recent changes had a signicant personal impact?
3. Do people fully understand the need for the change – what is driving it?
4. Consider the potential ‘negative’ impacts on people in the current change plan?
How can these be worked through and minimised?
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
No. Key considerations Actions
5. Are people willing to let go of the status quo or their past successes in order to commit
to a new future?
6. What degree of inuence do people feel they have over making this change, as opposed
to feeling that the change is being done to them?
7. What support can the change leaders initiate to help people manage their reactions
during the change process and work through their emotions in a way that assists them
to engage with the change? This will include listening to concerns, acknowledging
progress, afrming good practice, coaching, shadowing, job rotation, further education,
etc.
8. People need support to embed the changes into their everyday activities and
behaviours. How are people encouraged to discontinue ‘old systems and ways’ and
integrate changed practices?
9. Do people feel they have the competencies and skills to be able to succeed in making
the change a success?
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
Template 6.4.3: Working with Emotional Reactions to Change (continued)
No. Key considerations Actions
10. Are people worried about failing at either their operational duties or the changed
practices?
11. Are there concerns that the organisation has adequate resources, knowledge and skills
to succeed?
12. How do people feel about the level of urgency communicated, and their ability to
respond effectively in the given timetable?
13. What new behaviours and ways of doing things are being demonstrated and
encouraged? Can people relate to these in a meaningful way? Do they resonate with the
values of care, compassion, trust and learning?
14. Do people feel that decisions regarding the change will be made fairly and justly?
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
Template 6.4.3: Working with Emotional Reactions to Change (continued)
No. Key considerations Actions
15. Do people feel they will lose power and autonomy as a result of the change?
16. What resources already exist in the organisation for employee assistance? How can
these be levered to support staff?
17. How do we acknowledge people’s level of comfort with chaos – their need for order and
knowing how things will unfold?
18. Does the culture of the organisation support people to be open about reactions to
change and seek support? Is there a need to enhance communication in this regard?
Adapted from: Ackerman Anderson, L. and Anderson, D. (2010: 81) [3]
People’s Needs Defining Change – Health Services Change Guide
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
Template 6.4.3: Working with Emotional Reactions to Change (continued)
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