Leadership and Change Reply

Our ability to understand and manage organizational change increasingly depends on our ability to understand and manage the most important drivers for employees

These can vary considerably from situation to situation. We need therefore to be able to identify and interpret the nature of change, and other factors impacting employees, rather than merely referring to a checklist. People’s needs, and their perceptions of their needs, can change quickly, and tend to do so more when they are unhappy.

Organizational leaders naturally see change from their own standpoint. Crucially, to manage change more effectively leaders must now see change in terms of its effects on employees, and must understand how employees feel about it.

Managing change is often seen as merely a process – as in project management for example – but effective leadership style and behavior are also vital for successful change management.

Where a leader’s behavior is sensitive to people’s feelings, change happens much easier. Where a leader forces change on people insensitively, and without proper consideration then problems usually arise.

Great leaders know and understand that human beings are complex, and that change will come with time. There are a few things great leaders know, that enable them to lead their employees successfully through change.

People are not resistant to change just to be difficult. The more that leaders can help their employees notice and identify what might be holding them back, and then coach them to navigate forward, the better and sooner they will reach the desired state.

People want to feel confident and competent.

It is only natural to not want to be viewed as fumbling around.  It is easy to psyche oneself out by thinking everyone but you gets whatever this new strategy/ procedure/ thing is.

Leaders need to engage their employees in discussions, and ask good questions to help them begin to envision how things would work specifically for them, including where they would start, what obstacles they can anticipate, what success would look like.

They should not let mistakes be viewed as failure and encourage every sign of progress.

Another thing – the more people articulate the vision of the change, the more they own it. It’s hard for people to disagree with something they already said, especially when you have repeated it to them and made it a point to let them know they “got it.”

Leaders need to get people talking about how they understand the new vision, their role, expectations of them and their objectives.

Once they have received the message of change, we need to ensure they have a chance to digest it with every communication.

Designing activities and questions that help them verbalize how they understand things helps to digest and manage change.  Help people think out loud.  Listen.  Be responsive when they point out how to improve the process.  Reinforce when they are going the right direction. If we work closely enough with our people, after awhile, they will begin to act as if the changes were their idea all along.

Successful change management requires a large commitment and a great deal of skill from executives and senior managers, whether the change is occurring in a department or in a complete organization.

As leaders we need to recognize the human element in the change. People have different needs and different ways of reacting to change. They need time to deal with and adjust to change.

Leaders need to understand, engage and work with their employees. Their success will always be a reflection of leadership skills.

Leaders need to be honest and worthy of trust.  If we treat people with the same respect we expect from them, employees’ hearts and minds will be open to working with us to move the organization forward.

Therefore, better identification and selection of leaders would also help staff the top ranks of organizations with those who are better emotionally suited to produce change.

Successful change management leadership require not only an awareness of human behavior, but also workplace evolutionary trends.

Motivation Reply

How does a business benefit from having a well-motivated workforce?
As we all know, a well-motivated workforce can provide the following advantages:

Increased productivity
Lower levels of absenteeism
Lower levels of turnover
Lower training and recruitment costs


But what is it that encourages or motivates workers to go beyond the confines of their role and job description? What factors make staff go the “extra mile”?

Having “engaged employees” is potentially a source of competitive advantage and can also be invaluable when a business is going through a process of change.

By definition, motivating factors vary from firm to firm and across different industries. Employees in service businesses have different opportunities to attend to customer needs than those operating in the primary or secondary sectors. The organizational structures and cultures of businesses also vary widely.

The role of business leadership is also identified as a strong motivator, which is pretty unsurprising but still important. Good leadership instills a sense of mission & purpose in employees. An employee is unlikely to go the extra mile for a boss who they don’t trust or respect.

Employees who look at their jobs as a service to others, or as serving their boss according to Wharton management professor Adam Grant are the most satisfied with their job roles. Grant has devoted significant chunks of his professional career to examining what motivates workers in settings that range from call centers and mail-order pharmacies to swimming pool lifeguard squads. In all these situations, Grant says, employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive, too.

Grant also suggests that “task significance” is a key driver, and that face-to-face interactions, even seemingly superficial ones, can serve as a way of driving that significance home. In other studies he has found that engineers, salespeople, managers, customer service representatives, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, security guards, police officers and firefighters who can directly see their impact on others all achieve higher job performance.

Motivation has been studied for decades and leaders in the workplace have used assessments like Myers-Briggs to determine their employee’s personality types to better anticipate behaviors and tendencies. Additionally, motivational books are used as tools to get employees to increase their performance and / or get them back on track. While assessments, books and other tools can help project and inspire short and long performance, the factors that motivate employees to achieve evolve as they mature and begin to truly understand what matters most to them. Therefore, as leaders we must hold ourselves accountable to build meaningful and purposeful relationships that matter with our employees. This allows us to better understand those we are serving, just as much as ourselves.

As a leader, we need to not just read the assessment scores, we should get to know those whom we are leading and be specific about how we help each of them achieve their goals, desires and aspirations. The objective should be to help one another and to accomplish this each of us must identify those things that motivate us both to work together.

Forbes has identified nine (9) things that ultimately motivate employees to achieve.

Trustworthy Leadership – Leaders that have your back and that are looking out for your best interests – will win the trust of their employees who in turn will be more motivated to achieve.

Being Relevant – In today’s world where everyone wants to be noticed and recognized for their work – employees are motivated to achieve to remain relevant.

Proving Others Wrong – This particular motivation to achieve has been heighten as of late from younger professionals that seek to prove themselves faster amongst older generations in the workplace.

Career Advancement – Perhaps the most important factor on this list is the ability to advance. Employees are extremely motivated to achieve if this means that advancement awaits them.

No Regrets – People don’t want to live with any regrets in their career/life and thus are motivated to not disappoint themselves.

Stable Future – People are motivated to have safety and security.

Self-Indulgence – This factor is quite interesting and extremely important to put into proper perspective. People are motivated for selfish reasons to achieve money, attention, fame, etc.

Impact – As mentioned earlier on, today’s employees are motivated to achieve more than ever simply by the opportunity to create impact.

Happiness – In the end, happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Happiness fuels ones self-esteem and gives people hope for a better tomorrow.

So, as leaders we are obligated to understand our employees motivational drivers and strive to provide the environment and opportunities that will allow them to be successful as well be the fuel driving successful organizations forward.