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Three Tips for Becoming an Effective Leader of Change

Have you found yourself in a position where you are expected to lead team members through an important change initiative? Do you feel like you’re lost and don’t know the first thing about leading your team through transformation? You aren’t alone. One of the main reasons leaders resist change is because they lack confidence in their ability to manage the people side of change. 
What sets up a successful transformation is more than managing the technical deployment (although, yes, that is important – we’ve all been up against a go-live deadline!). During uncertain times of change, employees look to leadership, trusted managers, and supervisors for guidance. This tells us that the most important act for any successful change initiative is to ensure people managers incorporate the human element in the change process.

What is the human element and what does it have to do with leading change?

Employees are looking to their direct manager to hear and understand why change is happening and what it specifically means for them. They need support before, during, and after the change. As a leader of change there are specific behaviors, actions, and processes you can use through these stages to help your employees navigate the change.

Leaders often expect change to happen because they say so. The human element recognizes that change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People react to change with emotions, be it fear, resistance, or excitement – there is an emotional reaction and leaders who ignore the humanity of these feelings run the risk of a failed change effort. Employees who are busy reacting to a change experience dips in productivity and performance. These dips may cause unfavorable results if not handled properly which can impact your bottom line, employee engagement, and employee retention. 

Here are three fundamental things you can do right now to start a journey toward being an effective leader of change.

lighthouseBe prepared to communicate the WHY for change. Effective leaders of change understand and are prepared to communicate the why for change. Regardless of what the change may be, leaders must understand the reasons why change is essential or necessary and be prepared to communicate the reason(s) and expectations to impacted employees.

shipBe willing and committed to change. Leaders who are open to making personal and organizational changes, and are committed to providing the necessary resources, including their own time, have more successful transformations. 

pyramidUnderstand your role in leading change. Change champions look for ways to personally promote and advocate for the change. They also listen and share feedback, including potential concerns and resistance, with the change team.

Where can I learn more about leading through change?

The more prepared people managers are to lead employees through change, the better the experiences employees and customers will have during the change. To learn more about how to effectively lead through change and build your personal change leader roadmap, explore this workshop, Becoming an Effective Leader of Change, from the Avaap Change Academy TM.

Brian Worth is an Organizational Change Management senior consultant at Avaap and a certified Avaap Change Lead. Brian is an accomplished and impactful human resources executive with extensive experience in business transformation, organizational effectiveness, talent management, and culture. He brings a history of success with change leadership and supporting a transformational global culture while improving employee experiences, growing employee engagement, and elevating talent. Brian specializes in talent management, including driving change, talent development, and succession planning.