Recently I attended an event about the top 10 topics that are keeping business owners and leaders up at night. Turns out that three of those 10 involved change, and their companies’ and employees’ abilities to handle it constructively.

So that got me thinking, some of the most useful capabilities that we can develop as professionals are agility and resilience. Agility is pretty much what you’d expect it to be – the capability to quickly adjust to the twists and turns – especially the unpredictable ones. And like its name, resilience speaks to our ability to bounce back when those unexpected events knock us for a loop.

Given the dynamic events in our world these days, I think that cultivating the ability to meet change effectively is a great attribute—both personal and professional. So is the capability of picking oneself up, dusting said self off, and steaming on. It just stands to reason that those skills will be helpful at work or at home.

But the fact remains, change is just plain scary and disruptive. So, how do we teach ourselves, and our employees, to handle it better? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Just accept it. As leaders we need to seek, and demonstrate, the serenity that comes from accepting that which we cannot control. When there is chaos at the top of an organization it trickles down quickly and creates instability in the workforce.
  2. Acknowledge that you’ve experienced a roadblock. But remind yourself or team mates that you’re fundamentally strong, you’ve come through other challenges, you have resources to call on, and you’ll deal with the situation you face one step at a time. Invite a co-worker to take a walk or offer a healthy snack when a conflict presents itself. Physical health provides a good foundation of stamina to help you deal with challenges constructively.
  3. Build micro networks within your company. A mentor or friend from another department that may offer an outside perspective on challenges. The professional’s version of a buddy system with someone whom has a vested interest in your ultimate success.  Networks also may include trusted professional communities, like LinkedIn, user groups, Quora or others.
  4. Practice approaching challenges as if they were puzzles that have solutions. Just because we can’t see the solutions immediately, doesn’t mean that we can’t work toward them. Consider the outcome you’d like to achieve and ask yourself what actions you’d need to take to accomplish those goals. Lay out some steps to get yourself moving in that direction.
  5. Finally, play “what if.” I have a friend who just loves to cook up scenarios about the future and imagine what she’d do within the context of each one. That’s not a bad way to prepare a team for some of the alternatives that could conceivably come their way. It’s also not a bad way to nurture your creativity and imagination in the workplace. Remember, every scenario doesn’t have to spell doom and gloom. Change can bring good things, too!

Keep Calm… Bamboo On