Let’s say you work for a large company and they have hired a new General Manager (GM). This GM is obnoxious, crude, demeaning, and a bigot, but he has vast experience with running big companies and making them profitable most of the time.
You’ve never worked for a tyrant and you are petrified. Your biggest fears are that he will make many changes with the positions, schedules, pay plans and business operations as he has threatened to do before he was hired.
You and your coworkers are emotionally upset and concede to panic. You excitedly talk with each other and consider a demonstration outside the company’s entrance. You find yourself among about half the employees that are rebelling against the new GM.
Some of the employees have experienced working for such an individual in the past and are still hurting and emotionally distraught by the behavior of a similar supervisor. You commiserate constantly with them and complain vehemently without regard to the employees who are trying to make the adjustment in a positive manner.
The other half of the employees are trying to be supportive and give the new GM a chance to prove himself and to see exactly what will transpire as the transition takes place. They realize there is nothing they can do about his appointment to the position and decide to approach the situation cautiously, but with a positive attitude.
You are so charged with emotion and fear of an outcome that may never materialize, that you fail to be open to ways of making the most of your situation. You seem to be obsessed with resisting the change and begin to make choices that are counterproductive to forward progress.
Although all of the employees are concerned about the past behavior of the GM, and rightly so, half of the employees have made the choice to give the new GM the benefit of doubt. If things do not go well once he is in control, they are aware of other avenues they can take. At any time, they can decide to write the board of directors, who oversees the GM’s responsibilities, with their concerns. They can form focus groups to make suggestions and petition the board or the GM. They can approach the issues at hand with an attitude of making the best of an undesirable situation while coming up with ideas and suggestions that benefit everyone.
Unfortunately, both halves of the employees have taken sides and are unwilling to work with each other to resolve the issues. No one wants to feel helpless and left out. No one wants to be disappointed. No one wants to be disparaged.
How can this situation be resolved without making either side feel that they have lost or have been misrepresented?
There may not be an easy answer to this. However, there is hope! If each side can calm their emotions and think things through rationally and open-mindedly, they may be able to come to an agreement to work together and make the very most of their circumstances.
Sometimes we have to move beyond our hurt feelings and past experiences to find solutions that we may not have realized existed. However, it is easier for some than others to do this. If those who can find a way to do this can help those who cannot change, then more employees will feel empowered and hopeful.
The quest for positive change lies in the hands of each of us. It is up to those who CAN make changes to help those who cannot. We need to listen to each other intently and find empathy to support each other. We should comfort, advise and encourage each other into peaceful, meaningful dialog while utilizing every effort to come together in unity as employees and people of this great nation.