The June 2019 ASQ Roundtable Topic asks:
How can an individual become a successful Change Leader?
Every organization or institution has to deal with change. No one can hide or run from it. In the last couple of years the world has been changing at a rapid pace.
Normally, accepting change and going through the change process is NOT easy. Change is very hard for humans to accept (it’s human nature), to get everyone on board is a big challenge. The success of change depends upon the people, so everyone is important.
To manage, and/or coordinate the whole change process, effective leadership is one of the main components necessary to achieve a successful transition. For me personally, it is the KEY to success.
Which leadership skills contribute to someone becoming a successful Change Leader?
Communication is one of the most important skills in becoming a successful Change Leader. A successful Change Leader is one that can communicate, but also LISTEN to the group. The listening part is very important, it is the moment to get information, feedback, or possible ideas in order to improve: TOGETHER.
Always communicate WHY we need the change, WHAT is going to change, and the impact the change is going to have. The benefits that change can have for the organization, and for the whole group. Open and honest communication helps a successful change leader gain the trust of the group, and in its turn it will help the overall change process.
Maintain a communication strategy, and always check if it is actually working.
Bring everybody together (teamwork) to make decisions, plan (encourage the employees to be innovative, creative) and execute. This is so critical. That feeling of being part of the process gives everyone a sense of pride. A positive organizational culture motivates the group, and that sense of belonging to the organization inspires loyalty.
It strengthens their commitment. This results in no or almost no resistance to the change process. Everyone is important. Fix small team problems on the way, otherwise it will have a negative impact on the whole process.
A successful Change Leader shows his commitment to the change. Be a role model. Maintain control over the whole process: identify and focus on priorities. Maintain a clear purpose.
His or her behavior / beliefs is important to the rest of the group.
If the leader doesn’t believe, or doesn’t commit, it will have a negative impact on the change process, therefore the chance of FAILURE is extremely high.
If there is No effective leadership present, effectively implanting change will almost definitely fail.
A successful Change Leader has to remember that:
– Leading change is not a ONE man job.
– He has to believe in the team
– Motivate the team
– Be a role model
– Pass responsibilities to other leaders in the group
– Has to obtain a collection of skills to keep on top of change.
– And also: listen to the group
“Powerful and sustained change requires constant communication, not only throughout the rollout but after the major elements of the plan are in place. The more kinds of communication employed, the more effective they are”