Losing your driver’s licence, your birth certificate, credit card, or other like documents is a pain in the backside. Highly annoying, super frustrating, and lots of time will be spent on the phone and filling out forms. Yet, when this occurs we rarely feel that who we are is being challenged or questioned.
Losing a significant other, a job, a child, a role in the community, is a radically different type of loss. These losses touch us at the core of who we are and our often accompanied by questions of ‘who am I’. Christmas and the start of a new year can be wonderful seasons of reflection, but also are often times of pain for those who have had their identities changed or questioned in the preceding year. The season of celebration and joy forgets that for many, this is a time of pain. When we lose our identity or have significant parts of it change, uncertainty jumps in and can create havoc.
When the work we do, eliminate or change the roles we ask people to perform in our organisations we often are impacting their identities; we are changing aspects of their identity. Unfortunately as managers we tend to focus on the positives of the change for the organisation (which may be true) and let HR deal with the ‘people’. The great leaders among us know change is personal, it impacts our identity, and creates uncertainty for people, so they remain human in the discussions and acknowledge the emotions involved.
Change is always personal and always asks questions about our identity – individual and organisational.