What is it about change that can be so disconcerting? The list can probably be pages and pages. Here are just 2 ideas:
- Lawrence Lezotte tells us that the system in place is ideally suited to producing the results the school is currently getting-so when we talk about change we are telling people the system that have been part of, sometimes for years, is changing. That is unsettling for many.
- When we ask people, in this case teachers to change what they are doing, even when it is based on data, it is often perceived as a challenge to their personal belief. The feel the hard work they have invested in being devalued. They feel devalued.
The first point looks at “group” change and the second focuses in on the individual change. The fact is that are both connected and one can’t happen without the other.
In both cases, any change is going to require a change in core beliefs, and core values. This is true for individual change and for group change. If we want the change to be permanent and to grow, we must encourage people. Change has two aspects. We are going to look at the first, accepting the need for change (the second, as an FYI is managing the change.
Accepting the need for change
What is clear is sometimes the actual act of changing is as much a challenge as the actual change that is being implemented. I might even go as far as to say the act of changing is more of a challenge.
Change is an emotional process. Yes, as leaders, we need to provide a rationale and a plan. We need to present data and research, but at the end of the day people don’t follow data and logic, they follow people. Leaders must draw on their Emotional Intelligence (EI) and connect at a heart-level. They must offer hope.
Why is hope important? It moves people past their fear and resistance. It provides them with a vision of something better—and we all want something better. Hope helps the terminally sick to work toward their recovery. It helps the high school athlete dream about a career in the pros. Hope allows us all to persevere as wait for what tomorrow will bring.
Questions to Reflect On
What does that mean for you? What does that mean for your staff? Is there overlap? Can or how can you use it to strengthen the relationship you have with your team?