Leadership and the Art of Change
When you think about leadership, what comes to mind first? For many, leadership is a role in an organization, a political position, a philosophy...maybe even a book genre! But most often, you hear people equating leadership to some type of authority. But is that all there is to it?
Leading is an action, above all else. If nothing is happening, there is nothing for others to follow. Recently, on our podcast, we had a guest discuss how he believed the primary action that a leader is responsible for, is driving constant change.
TLCG founder, Liz Howard, interviewed author and organizational change consultant, J. Scott, on our June 3, 2019 podcast to learn about why he thinks leadership is ALL about change. J. discusses how publishing policies and procedures really is not the best way to enact change. Below are the key takeaways from the interview on how to instill change properly. Listen in to the episode below to hear the entire conversation!
Trust Others Before Asking Them to Trust You
As we constantly discuss at TLCG, communication is one of the foundational building blocks of great leadership. The world is changing incredibly quickly and leaders are often responsible for making changes within an organization to keep up with latest trends, technologies, and to cultivate innovation. To be successful in such work, however, a leader has to speak openly to their team about why they are trying to enact change to the status quo.
Scott states that some leaders are worried that others in the organization might sabotage attempts at change or simply not comply. These worries keep some leaders from speaking openly with their teams about why they are trying to drive change and what they expect that to look like. However, if you are not entrusting your team with a discussion about the vision you hope to create, it is unlikely that they are going to trust you. Trust begets trust. And as the leader, it is your job to go first.
Acknowledge That Change Is Scary
People are scared of change because they don’t know how that change will impact them.
The way most people adopt change is by waiting to see if their peers have adopted it. They want to see how adopting such change has effected them. Therefore, change has to be visible.
Scott advises that the best way for you to make the change visible is to celebrate when it's happened publicly. Help people understand what wins look like under your new way of doing business. Celebrate not just the adopters of change, but the outcomes that the adopters have brought to the business.
Your organization is currently very good at doing what it's doing. Asking people to deviate from a manner of doing business which as worked well can be a rather big ask. Instead of feeling threatened by those that are skeptical of your change initiative, have a strategic conversation with them. Show them the business reasons that drove your change initiative.
Also, remembering that change can be scary, help the skeptics understand how they are still going to add value to the team even if their ouputs look slightly different moving forward. Creating psychological safety is key to any healthy culture.
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