Explaining the nuance of leading through change in the workplace.
Change Leadership is the process of leading others through the specific challenges that arise during any transitional period in the workplace. Because change poses a number of challenges for leaders and their teams, change leadership differs from leadership in normal circumstances.
Why is Change Leadership Important for Leaders?
Change is a challenge that requires specific leadership skills.
During change, leaders are expected to balance the conflicting needs of their organization, their followers, and their customers:
- The organization and higher executives need to see progress and improvement.
- Followers need to be supported as they manage the stress of change.
- Customers need to continue getting the results they desire without interruption.
The fear that leaders experience with change is a result of the worry that they are not prepared to deal with the situations that could arise if things went wrong. Nobody wants to be the cause of ruffled feathers, and no leader wants to damage important relationships. Change leadership skills are critical because change is a unique situation that requires a different style of leadership.
4 Change Leadership Skills That Benefit Leaders
- Change leaders are able to adapt their communication style based on the needs of each individual on their team and practice close listening in order to make sure everyone feels heard. This inspires trust in your leadership, helps people get on board with changes, and reduces the risk of losing talented employees during change.
- Change leadership requires an innovative mindset, as leaders must be prepared to rethink solutions as they are tested. The ability to innovate allows leaders to move forward with confidence even in times of uncertainty and creates stronger results for the team and customers in the end.
- Change leaders respond quickly to challenges as they arise. By taking decisive action rather than hesitating, you inspire confidence in your leadership and avoid derailing the workflow and upsetting customers with delayed results.
- Change is stressful for everyone, and change leaders understand the numerous emotional responses that people can have to change. Change leadership skills help you meet each individual where they are and offer the necessary support.
Why is Change Leadership Important for Organizations?
Change is risky for organizations. Poorly managed change has significant impacts on engagement, organizational reputation, employee retention, and company culture. A skilled change leader is capable of reducing these risks.
4 Benefits of Change Leadership for Organizations
- Accelerate the process of change
Change leaders understand that organizational change is only possible if individuals change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but knowing how to get people on board with change accelerates the process significantly. Change leadership skills help propel organizations toward their vision of success.
- Improve team collaboration
Change leaders address barriers to successful teamwork including effective communication, engagement, and confidence. Change leadership skills create a deeper understanding of how teams work together and how to address any challenges to collaboration. Change leaders step up and help individuals understand their role on the team and how to contribute the full strength of their talents.
- Build Company Culture
Leaders influence how individuals “show up” every day in their work, on their teams, and for the customers. When these leaders develop change leadership skills, they can engage individually with their teams on a deeper level and shift the company culture to align with a brighter vision of the future.
- Improve Employee Engagement
Change leaders build strong bonds with their teams that are based in trust, inspiring them to be more committed to the organization and more engaged with their work. The stress of change can negatively impact an individual’s desire and ability to engage with their work, and change leaders understand how to address this challenge.
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Change Leadership is important because change is inevitable.
The truth is, change happens whether we want it to or not. There are many situations that force change upon companies even if leaders prefer to avoid change. For example:
- Organizational restructuring/rebranding
- New Leadership
- New Team Formation
- Product Launches
Change is inevitable and uncertain, but change leadership skills give leaders the tools to navigate the unknown with confidence. This is why it is critical for every leader to develop change leadership skills.