One of my clients recently asked me about the key to a successful change management. This seemingly simple question made me think and I decided to share my response in the article to help more than just one person.
After having a privilege to be part of some incredible change initiatives around the globe I fully understand the complexity of change. I’ve personally used many approaches myself to make change work, but there is one underlying component that was present during every successful initiative.
If you follow my blog, the answer won’t surprise you. I believe that leadership is that magic pill.
The Key to Successful Change Management: Leadership
Strong leadership makes change work. What I want to look at today is in what specific ways leadership can turn projects into success. Buckle up your seat belt, we’re starting.
1. Power of relationships
My mentor and friend John C. Maxwell once taught me that if you climb to a top of the mountain and nobody’s following you, you are a climber, not a leader. As a leader you must build relationships with people around you. And you need to build them BEFORE change happens. When you get their buy-in as a leader, they will be more willing to join you on a journey of transformation. Without the buy-in they might oppose you and even work against you. How can you show people that you care?
2. Power of listening
My best initiatives were ideas others shared with me. As a leader you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. You just need to be willing to listen to others who know what they are doing. Trust your people, listen to them and create a trusting environment where people aren’t afraid to speak up, create and improve. I can almost guarantee that the solutions already exist in your company or organization, you just need to start paying attention to people who see them. How can you show people that you pay attention?
3. Power of insight
Change isn’t straightforward. It’s messy and seasoned with unexpected challenges. In words of Rosabeth Moss Canter, “The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster.” Successful implementation requires creativity, continual evaluation, improvements, redirection and perseverance. Instead of quitting at the first obstacle, it is important to learn from mistakes and improve as needed. What can you learn from what happened?
4. Power of example
As a leader, you are being watched. Your enthusiasm, decisions and actions are under microscope. Many times people can’t hear what you are saying because they see what you are doing. To make change work you need to set a good example for those around you. Be positive, inspire action and set good standards for your team. It all starts with you, not others. What one thing can you change or improve to set a better example for your team?
5. Power of credit
As a leader it’s important that you give credit where credit is due. Sadly, I met many leaders (or I should call them managers instead) who thought that taking credit for their team’s work will position them as successful. Quite contrary. It ruins your reputation, damages relationships and lowers your ability to influence. Giving credit to your team members builds environment of trust, openness and creativity. Who do you need to thank or reward for their contribution?
Change can be hard. But success of your next initiative is directly linked to your capabilities as a leader. What one thing can you do today that will help you become a better leader and manage change successfully? Do it now!
Comments on our blog are closed, but if you send the your comment on social media, I will respond fairly quickly. Do you agree that leadership is a key to successful change management? I can’t wait to hear your take on it – let me know on social media.
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