Change is hard. Leading others through change is harder. Coercion and manipulation might seem the easy way, but you’ll pay a high cost in the long run. Using good leadership skills to inspire and support them through the changes will get you through with fewer casualties.
Paving the Path through Change
Change involves three states (see Figure 1). Have you ever tried to use a map
when you don’t know where you’re at currently or where you’re trying to get to? A map is pretty useless in that case. Continue reading Empathic Change Leadership
Remember the Good Old Days? It was just you and a few employees. We all shared in the excitement of our successes, the misery of our failures, and the anxiety of the unknown. But we were in it together. Everyone knew what the others cared about, what they were good at, and what they weren’t. And we all did whatever it took to succeed.
Communication just happened automatically. No need for organization structures and policies and complex systems. We hardly needed to write anything down. When something needed communicated, we just talked.
Some changes we create. Others, like the current world crisis, are thrust upon us. But in addition, those you lead also experience the changes you’re creating as being thrust upon them. How you lead them will define whether you thrive or just survive once you’ve executed your strategic plan.
Unless you’re a fresh startup, your organization has a history. It’s a pretty good bet that your history includes some significant changes. And you’re about to introduce another…
Whether your company’s history is a source of pride and loyalty or a dark dungeon of despair, you can’t afford to ignore the past as you introduce change. The uncertainty of change stirs emotions even in those who aren’t inclined to express them. For some, those emotions may be positive as they see the potential for a brighter future. For others, even positive changes are accompanied by overwhelming anxiety. And if the change is in any way threatening… Continue reading Changes Now, Changes Past
I suspect change would come much easier if I was leading robots. Replace some hardware, upgrade the software, and presto! Change complete. But then again, for change to be that easy I would have to be a robot, too.
Unless you’ve been asleep like Rip Van Winkle (Google it if you’re too young to know the story), you know that change is a constant in today’s world. But just because it’s constant doesn’t mean we’re good at it.
Consider the following characteristics of leadership:
Leadership is influence. Your followers don’t need your leadership if they’re going to do what needs done without your influence. That doesn’t mean you have to hover over them to direct their every move. It means creating the culture, values, and clarity of vision and strategy so that competent people know and are inspired to do the right thing without your micromanagement.
The goal of influence is to change behavior. If nothing needs to change, there’s no need for influence or leadership.
Changing behavior requires getting someone to do what they wouldn’t naturally do or don’t want to do. Someone has said that there are only two ways to change behavior: Manipulation and inspiration. We can manipulate by threatening loss of pay, position, promotion, or status. Or we can inspire by casting a vision and helping followers be energized to see their role in bringing that vision to reality. Do you do your best work when led by manipulation or inspiration? I’m guessing inspiration. The same is true of your followers.