When an aged care provider undergoes significant changes – such as a large scale technical implementation – it is important that staff feel equipped to handle it in a positive and constructive manner.
At iCareHealth, we recognise that our work is only as strong as our team. That’s why we are constantly looking for ways to improve our skills and ensure we work to the best of our abilities. As a result, the iCareHealth team recently attended workshops run by Lysander Consulting Group to learn some valuable communication methods. In this week’s blog, we’re sharing some of these techniques to help aged care providers create a positive working environment in times of organisational change.
Awareness of other staff members’ emotions and perspectives can go a long way in creating positive working relationships. It is important to recognise that in times of change, some team members may not cope as well as others. They might be nervous about what will happen, or feel concerned about their ability to adapt to the change, such as learning new software systems.
Being conscious of people’s emotions and building empathy towards co-workers can help reduce organisational stress and create a more pleasant working environment for everyone.
Management can help reduce times of peak stress by creating and fostering a culture of openness and understanding, and by actively listening to staff members’ concerns during times of change.
One way to help ensure you contribute to a positive working environment in times of change is to employ active listening when communicating with colleagues. Active listening involves some simple techniques that can help to open the lines of communication and make sure staff members feel heard and understood.
The elements of active listening consist of:
- Limiting the amount you talk and trying not to interrupt
- Letting your colleague know you are listening by repeating their key message back to them
- Focussing on your colleague and not a distraction, such as your computer or phone
- Taking notes to help you remember their key messages
- Listening out for the emotions and personal situations behind the words
It is estimated that over 50% of our communication is expressed through body language. It is important to be aware of how we present ourselves to our colleagues, particularly in times of organisational change or stress. While negative body language – such as crossing your arms or fidgeting – can project defensiveness or negativity, positive body language can help to make colleagues feel at ease in your presence. This can be achieved by having a relaxed posture, open palms, and by leaning forward.
It’s not what you say, but how you say it. In times of organisational change or stress, it is easy to feel out of control or apprehensive. This can lead to emotional responses and reactive language, which can have a negative impact on those around you. When faced with learning a new technical process in aged care, an example of reactive language would be:
‘I could never learn how to use a computer.’
Whereas an example of proactive language is:
‘I’d like some help to learn how to use a computer.’
By being conscious of how you communicate, you can help to project a positive yet assertive image. Proactive language can also help you to find solutions to problems more quickly than if you let your negative emotions drive your communication.
Creating positive change
Internal technical implementations and other organisational changes can create stress or concerns for some staff members. That’s why it is important to be aware of other people’s emotions and interact with them in a constructive manner. By using the above techniques in your day to day work, you can strengthen your working relationships and contribute to a positive change management process.
What other approaches would you use to help reduce stress in times of organisational change?
Lysander Consulting Group provides a range of solutions to support businesses to achieve results through their people. www.lysander.com.au