As John Maxwell put it so well, leadership is all about progress moving forward and moving forward means you are constantly changing. So for those in leadership roles, change is inevitable and necessary for growth.
Leaders go in to leadership roles because they are go at continually pushing through and creating change. The higher you go up the leadership chain the more important this trait becomes because you are navigating waters that you have never gone through before.
So you can see how as a leader if change is something you embrace, why you could be stumped by why your team would fight it.
So how do you move your team from fighting change to embracing it?
1. First start by realizing where they are coming from. Their confidence comes from their feelings of competence. Competence comes from doing the same thing multiple times until you perfect it. So change means I will be incompetent and that doesn’t feel good.
2. Change is something they see happening TO them. Rosabeth Moss Kanter in her book The Change Masters, said “Change is a threat when done to me, but an opportunity when done by me.” The trick is getting your team to see change as an opportunity they get to be a part of rather than a threat to them.
3. Recognize your own reactions to change and how they impact the team. If you are a boss that demands perfection then you naturally will have people lean towards no change because it is easier to meet the perfection then. When you are under constant change there will be mistakes. So you need to realize you may be part of the problem rather than the solution.
a. If you realize you are a perfectionist, then you need to have candid discussions with your team on how you will all handle mistakes and the challenges of change while still trying to deliver excellence. One doesn’t have to preclude the other but you do need to have a candid agreed upon discussion on how you will balance the two so people don’t become so stressed they make more mistakes.
b. If you aren’t a perfectionist but instead love to remain completely flexible, you need to realize that during change people need concrete things to anchor what they do and how they do it. This means they need firmer direction and guidance from you EARLIER rather than later. I know this goes counter intuitive to how most leaders work during high periods of change. But if you want top performance from your team you need to give THEM the most ROOM possible to flex and make changes which means you need to tighten the space and room you give your self for making changes.
Change doesn’t have to be scary but it does need to be directly addressed as to how the change will impact you, how you will work through it in order to not be stressed and then how to make adjustments quickly since you will most likely make errors along the way.