THE global COVID 19 pandemic has led to a number of unpredictable situations. Most companies are trying their level best to accommodate the changes in the new ways of work and skills requirements that have come as a result of the pandemic.

One thing is for certain during this time – change is inevitable. However, some may find it difficult to cope with change. This article serves to give a few valuable pointers on how employers and employees can cope with change.

Attitude is key

Attitude can be defined as the way one may think or feel about something. More often than not, attitude influences a person’s behaviour even in the most unpredictable of ways. Attitude can be positive, negative, neutral or sikken.

A positive attitude is one where an individual is optimistic and happy. Confidence and determination often characterise those with positive attitudes in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

A negative attitude is doubtful and frustrating and often an individual is angry or unhappy. This kind of attitude often weighs heavily upon a team.

A neutral attitude is one where one is indifferent and disconnected. Often a person has no emotion whatsoever with respect to the situation or even an individual and often no reaction to any changes at all. They are as good as being absent.

A sikken attitude is one where an individual is negative to the point of being destructive. This is one of the most dangerous attitudes that a person can have. It can induce an individual to work against progress or positive change as they believe it will not happen or cannot exist. Unfortunately at this point, an individual becomes toxic to the team or the organisation.

In order to manage attitudes, one must seek information to assist one to understand the organisation and the leader’s direction and trajectory. In most instances, leaders have an emotional investment in their employees and wish them good and zero harm. Seeking information from them will give an employee the security and comfort they need to continue performing at their best despite the looming need for changes.

One must, at all costs, avoid gossip and rumours as they often paint an untrue picture of things. Seeking information will allow one to be well informed of their position.

Manage your emotions

It is first and foremost important to acknowledge one’s emotions. This is so that they can be properly identified and so be adequately addressed. Anxiety, despair, depression, worry, sadness and anger are all emotions that must be acknowledged and their root understood. This will allow you to seek the relevant information to dissipate the emotion. One must also seek necessary support to allow one to deal with the said emotions.

Once emotions have been identified and understood, it also becomes easy to think clearly about how an individual may want to respond. One must avoid at all costs being that negative employee that drags everyone down or being that angry employee that causes people to be uncomfortable every time they walk into a room.

Develop patience

One of the most important traits to develop as an employee at any level is that of patience. We have all heard the old adage that patience is a virtue … it does not explain, however, just how much of a virtue patience is. One must always have patience with self – to understand that one is constantly a work-in-progress. We should strive to give ourselves credit for every small accomplishment and remain hopeful for achievements that are still in the pipeline. We need to learn to persevere and to be persistent in striving for the best version of ourselves. Once we acknowledge that change does not happen overnight, it will become easier for us to be patient and accept the challenges and adversities as learning curves.

One must also be patient with the universe – to acquire this type of patience, we must learn to focus on the reality of the situation, not the ifs, or the could-have-beens. One needs to be able to step back and see things for how they are and not force something to happen that may just not be meant to be. We must go a step further and extract the lesson(s) that we can learn from the current situations, or reflect on past lessons and how they equipped us for today.

Last, but not least, we must learn to be patient with others. However, this can prove to be a tall order. We can start by showing someone compassion and understanding. We have heard of walking a mile in another person’s shoes – or we can try to think about their circumstances or situation to see how best we can relate to them.

We might also try to understand how their experiences are shaping their actions today. In other words, attempt to understand where that individual is coming from before judging them. One may find themselves in a circumstance where they will grow and expand their minds … they may learn something new by listening fully to them, or catch something one had previously overlooked by taking a moment to re-explain a concept to them.

One must also actively accept the change and move forward – taking all valuable skills, memories and knowledge with them to the next phase of their life events. By accepting the change, one is saying that they are not going to be left behind but will move forward with the intention of putting one’s best foot forward.

Once all this groundwork has been laid, it becomes possible for one to have an action plan that will make one a more productive and effective employee. More often than not – with a positive view to embracing forthcoming challenges.

Karen Nyathi is the director of Zimbabwe Leadership Forum and writes in her personal capacity. She can be reached on [email protected]