Why leadership is essential for effective change

Why leadership is essential for effective change


When I think back to why I wanted to become a leader, I remember a lifelong dedication to supporting others. I wanted to help people navigate some of their biggest challenges — and now that I am a leader, I know those challenges often revolve around change.

You’ve probably seen your own people experience it, or perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself: Change isn’t always smooth sailing. Luckily, you have the power to make organisational change easier on your teams — and if you’re anything like me, that means you’ll be fulfilling the goals you set when you first became a leader.

Here’s why leadership is essential for effective change.

Why organisational change is crucial

According to a Gartner survey, 48% of HR leaders say organisational change and change management are their top priorities for 2022. Clearly, change is constant — but why?

The truth about change is that it’s rarely within our control. Although we as leaders certainly make decisions that have real impact on employees, large-scale change — the kind that makes people nervous, frustrated, exhausted or all three — is usually someone else’s call.

Here are just a few examples of things that may force organisations to change:

  • Employee turnover: With colleagues constantly coming and going, it’s our job to help our teams successfully navigate personnel changes.
  • Customer expectations: As customer expectations grow, so do the demands placed on companies. Change is essential to keep up with those demands.
  • Global economies: No economy is truly stagnant. Instead, companies like ours have to address constant fluctuations in cost, material accessibility, inflation and more.
  • Evolution: As new technologies emerge and the “old ways” are questioned, organisations must evolve to stay relevant and competitive.
Strong leadership supports people through times of change.Strong leadership supports people through times of change.

How leadership can enable effective change management

An effective leader should be able to help guide their team through changes of any kind. Here’s how you can make that possible:

  • Lead by example

When change is afoot, don’t give off an air of worry. Encourage productivity and employee resilience by showing others how confident you are about the new solution, approach or method, and lead by example when optimistically tackling new challenges.

  • Encourage open communication

According to Atlassian, “change fatigue” describes a scenario in which employees resist organisational change. This can occur when teams feel helpless, or when they’ve had to work through rapid-fire shifts with little or no support. To help avoid change fatigue, encourage employees to bring their questions, concerns and uncertainties to you. Open communication allows you to address issues early and understand exactly what type of support to offer (and how).

  • Point out new opportunities

While evolution can certainly be full of uncertainty, it also offers fresh opportunities for you and your teams. Instead of letting people focus on the doors that may be closing, help them pay more attention to the doors that are opening.

  • Improve your skills

If you don’t feel equipped to lead others through change, don’t worry — you aren’t alone. Instead of wondering whether you’re making the right choices, consider a change management program that will help you build the skills necessary to navigate an uncertain world.

Become a more confident leader

If you want to help your people, the best way I’ve found is to start by helping yourself — especially when change is involved. Equip yourself with the right tools, skills and knowledge to support others through uncertainty, and soon you’ll be confident enough to handle whatever comes your way.

If you’re ready to make it happen, contact us today to learn more about the ICML Leading Change program. It might just be the best change you’ve ever made.

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