When it comes time to make big, departmental changes, do you get nervous? Hesitant? Or wonder if you’re making the right decision?
Well here’s some good news, you’re definitely not alone.
Many department administrators fear to make major changes to their department’s structure or way of operating. The reasons why people fear such changes are diverse, although the commonality of fearing such change is ever present.
As police officers - you’re trained to think multiple steps ahead of every situation you encounter.
As law enforcement administration - you’re going to find yourself applying the same skills when trying to decide on big departmental changes.
This is a great way to plan for any possible consequences (positive or negative) for any new implementation, but it can also hinder your interest and desire for these changes since the fear that is resonating will guide you to focus on the negatives and overlook the positives.
Below are a few ways in which you can overcome your fear of change:
1. Face It.
One of the primary ways to overcome fear is to just face it. To avoid facing something we fear, people will often come up with many reasons to support their decision to avoid it. During this process, you’ll easily come up with all the negatives and avoid considering the positive aspects. Facing your fear means avoiding this vicious cycle of excuses and taking on the new change head-on.
Psychologists use this technique with patients exhibiting major fears, although clinically this step is referred to as “exposure”. The important step for exposure therapy is facing your fear little by little.
For example, if you are considering changing your department’s schedule but are hesitant because you aren’t sure how the officers will react or if it will even be better for them, start by talking to your officers about it. Then, you could try having a few officers test the new shifts or rotations to get feedback. Finally, when you are ready, you can make the change department-wide.
These smaller steps make the major change less intimidating. The best part is the more that you implement and practice making changes, the easier it will become.
2. Remain Unbiased.
Remaining unbiased during the decision-making process when considering making a change in your department is also vital for making a sound decision. You should always consider pros and cons of implementing something new to your department.
Often times, it can be easier to come up with the cons when you fear to make major changes. However, remaining neutral, or
Another important aspect of this step is to avoid formulating rash opinions on the change-up for consideration. Try and remain open-minded to the new idea. If you have already formulated an opinion about the decision before considering the pros and cons, you will be unable to remain unbiased. At this point, it may be worth trying the following option...
3. Talk About It.
Another way to overcome the fear of change is to talk about it. Opening up the discussion for changes being considered to your patrol-level officers could provide valuable insight into both the planning and implementation stages of the process.
It won’t always come down to a majority vote winning the decision, but some of your officers may be able to provide additional insight that the administration hadn’t considered. Having multiple viewpoints can also be helpful.
Further, your officers will be grateful for the inclusion and will be less likely to combat or struggle with the implementation stage if the change is voted on for approval.
The easier the transition is to something new, the less fearful people will be of a change in the future.
Ultimately, people fear change. It is an innate, human trait.
There are many different ways to try and overcome this fear, but you have to be willing and able to do so.
Although change can be intimidating, it can also be extremely beneficial. The forefront of conversation for police administrative personnel is always going to be how you can make your officer’s jobs safer and more efficient.
Improvement requires change.
Overcoming fear of such change is critical for improvement.
The steps provided above are just a few ways in which you can minimize the fear of change to maximize your department’s efficiency.
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