Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Leading Change a Balancing Act

One common task for us as leaders is to lead change in our workplace. While it may seem that this is a straight forward activity, when done well it will lead to positive changes for our team. However if this is poorly done it can create havoc in our workplace.

The obvious first step is to identify what and why a change needs to be implemented. This is best done through a consultative approach. Take care when raising the situation to also note the parts of the process that are working well and need to be continued in the current way they are done.

In your leadership role it is up to you to drive the changes and engage your team. While this may seem obvious the risk you run if you do not identify the good aspects in the current situation is that the team will feel that their previous efforts have been wasted or not appreciated. So now having identified the good points that need to be continued and where the changes need to be completed. The next steps can be started.

The positioning of yourself towards the team must be one where you are part of the change and not one of the boss pushing the change down to the team. Should you push the change down in an authoritative way, there is some risk of two negative outcomes. Firstly the team may feel very off-side even if they outwardly say yes to the change. Secondly the team may feel dis-engaged in that they have this task thrust on them with no support.

Ideally you will engage with the team and be a large part of the change, when your team see you involved and they see you changing in-line with the change, they will better engage and assist with the change. Take your time to keep the team appraised of the continuation phase along with the changes and their progress.

By working with your team your leadership stands a much better chance of success than pushing a change onto a team and walking away.

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