How can leaders facilitate predictable change?
Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Change is a constant in life and business as well. The rate of change in business, however, is accelerated in the global economy. Companies have to bring about innovation in order to survive but this is not always easy on the workforce. There are very traditional and accepted ways of getting things done within a business. These are entrenched in the corporate culture and can be very difficult to extract. Yet, change will be needed in order to remain competitive and leaders have to ensure continuous improvements. Their ability to facilitate the change will be critical for success.
What qualities do you need to show as a Leader?
It is important to remember that leaders are not necessarily born but can develop the required qualities. When it comes to change there are several attributes that have to be found in the leadership style of whoever is in charge:
- Comprehensive understanding. A leader has to be able to plan different scenarios prior to initiating change. These developments cannot be a spur of the moment idea, but the result of careful analysis and an understanding of the consequences.
- Power of persuasion. This is a combination of various styles. In a change situation a leader has to be able to persuade others that innovation is important for the company or organization to survive. This type of persuasion must be both verbal, in writing and with actions. A good level of charisma is going to be extremely helpful. The leader has to be able to exhibit strong outward abilities at all phases of the change.
- Determined persistence. “The die is cast” is an appropriate slogan for change once the decision has been made to implement it. A leader cannot show any doubt as the change process begins but stick through to the end, knowing that the final goal is worth all the effort.
- Managerial courage. A leader needs to be able to follow through his vision and embrace taking risks and rewards coming with it. There will always be members of your organization disagreeing with your line and threatening your career, however a true leader can cope with the pressure and make sure to complete every step of his plan.
What Actions are required of you as a Leader?
Recognizing that the above qualities are part of an effective change leader, there is a point when implementation of change must happen. This does not have to be a radical revolution within the cubicles; controlled change over certain areas is common. To be sure that change does not bring about harsh consequences, these are the actions of an effective change leader:
- Intelligent selection: The right talent has to be recruited from outside or groomed from within the company to bring about change. Traits such as agile thinking, teamwork, quick learning and resilience are going to be important and behavioral interviewing is considered a good technique for selection.
- Recognition: employees that positively contribute to change ought to be recognized by a leader immediately for their work, rewarded adequately and reinforcing public communication need to go out to inspire the rest of the workforce in the direction of change.
- Accurate measurement of progress and accountability
A leader has to have the right measurement tools to be sure that change is bringing about positive results. A reporting system has to be developed to ensure that innovation is actually occurring. With both measurement and accountability information is provided that can be shared with all stakeholders. This includes the workforce.
- Prompt corrective action when necessary
Accidents and mistakes happen during any change cycle. A leader has to have the ability to take corrective action promptly, communicating to all parties effectively what is being done to remedy the situation. More over, change pushes people in uncharted territory and at every turn there is a lesson to be learnt. Remaining agile, capable to learn from our mistakes and able to adjust the course is vital to achieve a successful transition.
Training activities to strengthen key capabilities and skills are also part of facilitating change. A leader has to be able to organize and perform those activities as well.
It is obvious that change will be a sizable task for any leader. It has to be done in many situations, nevertheless. The world economy moves very quickly, customer attitude change constantly and disruptive innovation is causing havoc in multiple industries. The ability for a leader to effectively facilitate change will guarantee survival and profitability in the new age of globalization.
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