Humans have been experiencing change for millennia and so it is no surprise that, as a species, we are well adapted to cope and to instigate huge changes in our lives and destinies. Rodriques and Rodrigues in 2015* offered a study which identifies resilience and leadership as key factors in positivity in the work-place.
Capturing key elements of change and maintaining positivity has been examined by managers, leaders and organisations for decades. Think of the huge amounts of change that has occurred in Western society since the last major pandemic over a hundred years ago in 1918. Astonishing change has been matched by period of huge negativity and disappointment. This is true of both individuals, communities, nations and groups of humans emboldened by the possibilities that comes with the inevitably of change. Much of our reactions to change is borne out in our experience of the seasons and the ways in which our worlds are in subtle flux and weave.
We are all experiencing change at the current time as Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and extinction rebellion challenge our pre-existing believes, prejudice and ideas. These are not easily predicted even when using established models of change such as Kotter.
We don’t change at our peril
Poets and songwriters understand that change is a constant friend and companion to humans in transit. We can get left behind by wanting to stay the same despite all our senses telling us that change is the normal way in which we will survive. Embracing change is like getting used to grey hairs and loving the stories of the older people; being attracted to difference, allowing curiosity to widen your mind whilst listening to the young as they embrace their world with more enthusiasm and verve. Playfulness and reverence for nature, all of which have emerged during this current period of immense change. Being negative or saying ‘no’ now looks so unhelpful in the light of hospitals being built in 11 days, scientific collaboration between previous commercial rivals, sitting together with people who are different, academics not hiding in the shadows in their towers whilst entrepreneurs slow down long enough to hear different ideas from different sources.
Here are two ways to convert negativity into positive action:
Positive frames of mind
Howard Gardner has spent a lot of his working life establishing ways in which different people with different talents and ‘intelligences’. His research work sheds like on the way a positive view of people can be so helpful when considering modern needs of a society that asks questions, seeks collaboration and feels positive regards for all others.
Work together in the spirit of positivity knowing that we are all engaged in living in one world.
Mindfulness and peaceful existence in the present
Using a model from several decades (the S-curve – used alternatively in both marketing, development and sales projections) can help us view how our experiences of change can be expressed in terms of natural cycles such as one that we experience in temperate countries such as Britain. Spring is characterised by urgent growth, summer by consolidation, autumn through bearing fruits and winter by enforced reflection and preparation. Positive attitudes to change are fostered through appreciating this ‘natural cycle’.
Malinga, Stander and Neil in 2019** offer us all an insight from their study of positive leadership. They cited four aspects that are required to assist in the positive embedding in change within the organisation of people in a meaningful way.
Optimism is crucial, alturism and self-sacrifice is key, maintaining an ethical orientation compliment a motivational aura.
Listening to your neighbours with reverence and care might unleash the solution to your current change – positive change and changing to positivity is possible where the things that are driving you are focussed on others in the warm light of collaboration, listening and human interaction and collaboration.
*Rodriguez, A., & Rodriguez, Y. (2015). Metaphors for today’s leadership: VUCA world, millennial and “Cloud Leaders”. Journal of Management Development.
**Malinga, K. S., Stander, M., & Nell, W. (2019). Positive leadership: Moving towards an integrated definition and interventions. In Theoretical Approaches to Multi-Cultural Positive Psychological Interventions (pp. 201-228). Springer, Cham.
This blog is part of the Change Maker Blog series. The Change Maker programme is a series of blogs, podcasts and virtual learning sessions to help people and organisations to navigate through a time of unprecedented change. To find out how the Change Maker programme can help re-engage your teams, start the conversation with us, click here to find out more.