Leadership is the core of change. When it comes to change within an organization, leadership is the most important contributor to success… or failure. Employees watch their leaders relentlessly. They know a leader’s action speaks louder than their words. If the ‘walk’ doesn’t follow the ‘talk’ then the employees won’t follow either.
When it comes to Change Management there are key behaviors we look for in our leaders. In our book The 8 Constants of Change we note that these behaviors include:
- Get involved in the change – by attending meetings, process reviews, workshops and making time to attend executive training. Your attendance and participation signals that these activities are important.
- Communicate the Change – by getting the message out there, ensuring it is understood, updating the information as progress is made, and paying attention to issues and concerns.
- Reward people for doing the right thing – by encouraging employees to get involved in the project, rewarding them publicly and maintaining a regular contact with the change management team. People who are doing a really great job need to be recognized and rewarded.
- Walk the talk – by showing what is really important in action rather than just words. There are endless projects competing for time and resources, how a Leader supports any given project reflects directly the likelihood of success or failure.
- Keep a positive attitude – by expecting the learning curve and knowing that productivity will dip while changes are put in place. Be patient and maintain that positive outlook, even if the messages are negative.
There are a couple additional behaviors that aren’t included in The 8 Constants but certainly merit a mention here:
- Never stop nurturing – Mentor the team, and in turn you may learn new ways of thinking and approaching things. This effort creates a working infrastructure of shared values, ideas and accomplishments.
- Try what might fail – Empower the team to try things that aren’t necessarily guaranteed to work. Look at any outcome of an effort as either success or education. Both are invaluable.
The times when leaders are tested most is when they’re not looking…in a hallway conversation, a passing comment or even a facial expression. Can you hold up the Leadership Looking Glass and know that your actions reflect your words?