Leading change is hard.
But good change leaders are essential if any kind of change – organisational or otherwise – is going to succeed.
In the context of organisational change, Kotter’s change model emphasises the need for leaders to:
But in order to do this, what are the key characteristics that leaders need?
Here are 12 critical attributes of change leaders.
Of course, the values-based attributes, such as honesty, doing what you say and owning your decisions are critical. But, looking back over this list, I am beginning to think that number 9 – interpret – might be the most important and perhaps the most difficult change leadership task of all.
The point here is that at any given time during a process of transition and change not everybody has the same understanding of what is happening, not everybody has the same perspective on the change and not everybody will be responding to what is happening in the same way.
It is therefore critical to keep open your channels of communication with your team, collectively and where possible, individually, so that you can gauge what you need to do boost understanding and help manage the inevitable anxieties that arise.
There will be elements of repetition in this, because change can be complex with multi-layered implications arising from it and therefore the process of understanding can be gradual and emergent.
The important thing is to realise that just because something has been said, it hasn’t necessarily been understood. Checking understanding is therefore vitally important.
I'm Martin Cole. I am a UK qualified lawyer, a leader within the financial services regulatory and compliance sector and an organisational and executive coach. I have an Master of Science (M.Sc). in coaching psychology and am certified as a coach by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. I also have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB (Hons.)) and was admitted as a barrister by the Inner Temple (now non-practising). I have lived and worked in London and Sydney and now live near Edinburgh in Scotland with my wife and two daughters. I support Crystal Palace FC, have wide ranging musical tastes (especially Jazz, Blues and Soul) and oppose mediocrity, selfishness and organisations that fail to value their people.
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