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About to Fall Off the Change Tightrope

28 Nov 2023 9:30 AM | Anonymous

Dear Sophia,

The amount and pace of change is challenging for all to manage. As a leader, I try to support the organization with change efforts, but I struggle with myself with all the changes, and I have a team that I want to support with navigating incessant change. How can I balance supporting all three of those? Does one take priority over the others? I want to convey support for the organization while also listening and asking how I can support my team, but I don't want to come across as oblivious to how hard it is, as just 'toeing the party line'. Help!


About to Fall Off the Change Tightrope

Dear About to Fall Off the Change Tightrope,

At the risk of repeating what we’ve all heard since childhood, change is hard. But I also firmly believe that change can be really good. Yet still, even things that are good can sometimes be really hard. So now that I’ve stated the obvious, let’s delve in. You’ve got three buckets that need to be kept full but you only have two arms (at best) to carry those buckets. Dropping one is an option but then which one do you set down? You rightly ask, which one takes priority?

The simple answer is that you take priority. Just like putting your oxygen mask on before helping others on the airplane, you can’t help anyone unless you can breathe. If you’re not feeling balanced, strong, and open to the changes that are happening, you can’t possibly help your team and you can’t support the organization. You care for yourself so that you can care for others. So even if you don’t understand all the changes happening in your company and even if you can’t see where it’s all headed, you can take steps to mentally handle change in whatever form it takes. There are tons of great resources out there on managing change in your own life, so I encourage you to take the time to get comfortable with it and find strength there.

Once you start to feel the weight of your own bucket lightening, you’ll be amazed at how much that affects your team members and your attitude towards the organization. The next step is to create spaces for open and regular communication with your team. Be honest with them about your own struggles but set a positive tone and be forthright in identifying the good aspects of all this upheaval. As with most things in life, it’s all perception and how you view the situation. Change management is about navigating expectations and communicating clearly and empathetically and more often than you think you need to, so give your team this time and space.

And finally, don’t feel pressured to buy into everything your organization is changing. You can still support the work they do and your role in that work, without agreeing with everything. Be strategic in determining what is just a by-product of change that will eventually settle out and be fine, and what may be more significant decisions and directions that you need to push up against. Then articulate those clearly and share them with management, not in an aggressive or threatening way, but as helpful suggestions. Remember, they are navigating change too and they may not be seeing all the angles. Approach it from a place of helpful support to the overall goal, instead of a frustrating roadblock to your success.

Most of all, congratulations on caring enough to take this on. I promise that if you care for yourself and develop your own tools for managing change, the rest will unfold in ways you never imagined.

Confidentially Yours,


P.S. Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I’m curious what the amazing community of educators reading this post has to say. Chime in, folks! What thoughts do you have for About to Fall Off the Change Tightrope? Share your thoughts on the Global Leadership League’s LinkedIn page

Please note: This response is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice or legal opinions of a licensed professional. Contact a personal attorney or licensed professional to obtain appropriate legal advice or professional counseling with respect to any particular issue or problem.


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