Big change can be quite stressful for employees. But we forget that leaders and managers are people, too, and that they feel the same anxiety and uncertainty that their teams do.

To put leaders and managers at ease, create opportunities for them to talk about change and work through what it means for their teams. Here's how to address change anxiety in your organization by helping leaders and managers get the conversation started:

What leaders and
managers are thinking
  Steps you can take
I'm concerned about how this change will impact my team. Host web meetings to explain details and answer questions

Web meetings are a great way to discuss change in global organizations, but they’re only useful if they focus on the "hard-hitting issues" facing leaders and managers. Before the meeting, ask people to submit "five main concerns" about a change, and build your agenda around the top five most cited issues. Knowing that someone is really listening to their concerns will encourage more people to log in to get the answers they need.

I want to know more, but don't want to look 'stupid' asking questions. Schedule face-to-face Q&A sessions, especially for big changes

Speaking up in Q&A's can be just as intimidating for leaders and managers as employees, especially when the topic involves a big change, such as a layoff or merger. To break the ice, start the session with: "I know a lot of people are concerned about this change. What questions do you think your team will have?" This approach takes the pressure off leaders and managers, and they’re more likely to share the burning questions on their minds.

I wonder how other managers are dealing with this change. Create a discussion board on your leader/manager intranet site

Discussion boards are a great place for leaders and managers to share their experiences with change (and vent when needed). But to keep the conversation going, you need to set the tone for open discussion. Instead of having just your CEO post, assign a different leader or manager each day to talk about how they are dealing with change. When a post comes from one of their peers, leaders and managers are more likely to participate and give honest feedback.

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