LEADERSHIP BY DESIGN - MODULE 7
Empower yourself to grasp the significance of change, learn strategies to embrace change personally and empower your team to not just adapt, but thrive amidst change.
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Today, we’re going to move on from talking about leadership theory, to start talking about change and how change is treated in your business and how you approach change. Now, change is often seen as a threat. Indeed, instinctively as humans, we will see and treat organizational change as a threat. It’s an unknown and it can invoke quite serious, deep, sharp reactions because people don’t like uncertainty. They react against it. They need to keep the status quo because that represents safety. Individual team members will often not see the bigger picture that you can.
But change is a business essential. It is about efficiency, productivity. It’s about better customer service, or merging business units after an acquisition, or a new culture, whatever it is. Whatever change, instinctively, human beings will see it as a threat, a threat to the order of their environment and they react against it.
So, what this means as a leader is that we are often facing change and having to impose change on our teams. And that is always creating a challenge for us. Even if your team says, “Yes, I embrace change, that’s great.” the reality is the part of their brain is still fighting against it, a wary of that threat. So, we’ve got to be aware of that, conscious of that. But as a leader we are almost never going to be in a situation of simply guarding status quo and about administering some steady process. If that was what we were doing, we’d be a manager. We’d be managing an ordered, safe process. But as leader you’re making a change, you’re making a difference, so you’re going to be facing this challenge all the time.
Now, how do we get around that? There’s a whole way, there’s a whole raft of different ways that we can approach change and we can mange change. We talked a little bit about that in the text. But the fundamental point is for us as individuals to define change as normal. That a constant state of change is normal and we must encourage our teams to see that and create a structure, a framework around that so that teams know that yes, things are going to change, things are constantly changed, but in an ordered structured way to take out the threat from that.
So the task today, having read the text, of course, is to think about how change is perceived within your business. Listen out for what people are saying, and listen to your own inner dialogue, the thoughts going on in your head about how you treat change. Is it a threat or is it an opportunity? Is it a radical threatening change or is it business as usual? So have a think about that. How you approach change, how the business approaches change and read the text to get some more ideas about how you can produce structure, order, certainty, predictability around the natural disorder and chaos that is change.
So have a reflection on that and then tomorrow, we’ll start to look at how we adapt leadership styles to changing situations.