Self-esteem and dealing with change

Change management Models: Dealing With Change

The key to you dealing with change or helping others during, for example during restructuring, mergers or acquisitions, is to understand what happens to people during any change. Here we will talk about the impact of chnage on learning and what you can do about it.

Back to learning theory for a moment, your ability to cope with change and learn new ways of doing things is directly related to your feelings of self-worth or your “self-esteem.”

This is an important point as the very act of changing (remember changing is learning) requires an ability to see the world differently (psychologists call this cognitive restructuring).

We know from brain research that human beings all have the potential ability to do this. We also know that changing our own hardwiring can be difficult.

So we can deal with change quite well but of course that doesn't mean we will



Read more on brain based learning here

Dealing with change:Hanlon's paradox



Impending or actual change lowers self-esteemand the ability to cope and deal with change just at thetime we most need to learn.

Hanlon's paradox is that people with lower self-esteem need praise in order to learn, and people with high self-esteem need less praise and more confrontation in order to best learn.

more information on dealing with change here



Find a route map for organizational change here

As persons self-esteem raises a person's ability to learn also rises to point A. Eventually it reaches a maximum point B for that person.

Any further increases in self-esteem only further to lower that person's ability to learn and change as shown in point C.

The best and most natural level is the Learning Ground.

So if you are about to undergo change your self, or you have management and leadership responsibilities with others. The key question is how you move yourself and others into that learning ground?

For those with lower self –esteem it is about recognising the positive aspects of how they are coping, and the potential benefits of the change.

This could be about a number of things like:


1. Breaking down large goals into smaller tangible goals that people can achieve, providing constructive praise and feedback,


2. Making sure you count your successes and, reflect on any insights


3. Buddying people up on the basis of lower and higher self-esteem.

For those with higher self-esteem (often managers) that may be more rigid or blocked learners.

It is more of a balance between, confronting their views and perceptions, in order to encourage them to examine their own views and praising what is working about their current ability to cope.

These are coaching type of conversations, where the individual is encouraged to see the link between their beliefs and behaviours, and the outcomes they are getting or not getting. They can then examine how effectively their current views will help them in the changing situation.

How could you use Hanlon's Paradox model

Develop a short dealing with change Management or Team workshop (40 minutes).
To provide a forum where participants can identify ways of helping people improve their ability to learn and change, and therby their performance.

Introduction: 5 minutes
Open the subject
Ask what factors influence learning and change

Present the Model 10 minutes

First group discusion and debrief 10 minutes
How to move people with low self-esteem into the learning ground

Second group discusion and debrief 10 minutes
How to move people with high self-esteem into the learning ground

Summary and close 5 minutes

Back to change models

More on resistance to change here

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