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.