Change is a constant in life and the ability to drive change has become one of the most critical factors of modern leadership. In as much as this is a truth, it doesn’t mean going through this change would be easy or cosy. A lot has been written about driving organisational change by persuasion, it often centres around finding the right motivation. This approach is good but is not always the best approach because change has to start from the top.
More often than not, change in the organisation begins at the leadership level. If the leader of an organisation does not key into the change which is to be instilled in others, Why then should the subordinates follow?
How then can a leader drive change effectively?
- Communicate: When a form of change is being introduced within the organisation, a leader is expected to take charge of its communication within the organisation. An ineffective leader would be more concerned about “what is” behind the change while an effective leader communicates the “what is” and the “when”. Timing is also pivotal. Communicating too early can leave employers afraid and worried and staying to the last minute can catch people off guard. Leaders who clarify the reason behind every organisational change create in the minds of people a stronger urgency for change.
- Collaboration: Successful leaders are prepared to contest the norm and pursue new opportunities. When the need arises; they work across boundaries and encourage employees to come out of their shells to collectively plan and execute change. They involve employees in decision making during the early stages this, in turn, strengthens their commitment to change. Unsuccessful change leaders fail to engage employees early and often in the change process.
- Anticipate Pitfalls: Pitfalls are most likely to be encountered when implementing change. It is important to have these pitfalls at the back of your mind, think through these pitfalls ahead of time and come up with plans to help. This is to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances which may arise.Be Open to redrafting a new plan: An idea is only an idea till applied. As a leader you should not be rigid. If there is a need to adjust, you should be willing to do so. Start each process in little chunks and then roll out everything little by little. Analyse what works and what doesn’t and make adjustment(s) where needed.
The idea of change can be difficult; but if it is happening, it’s definitely for a good course. Strategic change doesn’t just happen, it takes leaders to be change agents.Effective leaders drive the change process from start to finish.