A Change in Leadership

Imagine you work for a company whose leaders have a solid vision and strategy but they are not connecting with you or your colleagues. What do you do? Do you adapt because this is your job after all? Or do you fight for change?

In a post by Rob Bier and Mark Powell on the Self Leadership Coaching blog, the issue of changing leaders is discussed. When a leader is not performing and inspiring her employees, it does not go unnoticed.

Employees don’t get to vote for their CEOs. But their voice is still heard, through the strength (or lack) of their commitment to the leadership team’s strategy and vision. In our experience, when employees don’t commit, it’s usually because they lack a strong connection to their leaders – not because they think the strategy is wrong.

Even a solid vision can fail if leadership is not right. A leader’s style can distract from the main message they are trying to convey. When such small things are taking away from the effectiveness of an important message, it is necessary for leaders to search out how they can change. Bier and Powell outlined five different elements to leadership change:

  1. Awareness: Leaders need to be made aware of their effectiveness with key stakeholders through regular feedback.
  2. Insight: Habitual behaviours that were once a source of success can, in a different context, become problematic. Until they can get insight into their own motivations for acting this way, and can change a core belief (e.g. from “I add value by being the smartest guy in the room” to “I add value by bringing out the best from my team”), they will stay locked into the old way of behaving.
  3. Action: Most people are able to consciously make small if important changes to how they act. If these lead to better results then these small changes can become stepping stones to a more lasting change.
  4. Commitment: To achieve lasting change leaders need both a deep internal commitment and the committed support of key people around them.
  5. Mastering the art of Change: The truly successful leaders are those who can apply what they’ve learned through the process of adapting and changing to the next set of issues. This is true self-leadership.

Change is scary but it is necessary. I think Don Draper of “Mad Men” said it best – “Change isn’t good or bad. It just is.”


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