If you have been reading my articles for a while, you probably know what to expect when I publish a new one. Some insights on leadership, maybe a story with a point – at the end of the day, that will always be what I offer. After all, it is my passion.
But what if, one day, it was different?
What if, instead of a monologue, it was a conversation?
Would you embrace the change, or would you x-out in confusion?
Host: Hello, and welcome to Leadership for the Now, your chosen resource for today’s most cutting-edge leadership tips. Today, we’re looking at a six-letter word that has brought many organizations to their knees: change. Kodak. Nokia. Xerox. Blockbuster. Change has ushered them all into the past. Evolving tech impacts consumer preferences, which transforms trends, which then changes what businesses must do to serve their people. As leaders we have to be on our toes, ready to anticipate the change that’s coming around the corner. With us today we have leadership expert and consultant Florin Lungu. Florin has nearly 15 years of experience leading teams to success, even in the face of change. Florin, thanks for being with us today.
Florin: It’s my pleasure.
Host: Florin, I’ve got here some questions from our listeners. Here’s what they want to know: why do organizations need to change?
Florin: Great question. A lot of organizations tend to get complacent. They see today’s success and make models for the future based off it. But like you said, the world changes all the time, non-stop. This is something we learned in the pandemic. Things beyond our control, like world events, advances in technology, or new policies can push organizations to change to stay relevant and continue to compete. But we can also choose change for the sake of growth.
Host: Nicely put. Now it stands to reason that if organizations will have to change, leaders should be able to lead their teams through change.
Florin: Absolutely. As leaders we are a kind of reference point for our teams. When we are shaken by change, they will be. Or when we are resistant to it, or when we are overwhelmed by it. Because we set the tone, they are taking their cues from us. Knowing how to communicate a vision, get your team excited about that vision, and support them as they implement it is one of the most important roles of a leader – and honestly, one of my favorite, as well.
Host: You like a challenge, I see. I’ve talked to many leaders who think of change like an obstacle – sometimes a threat, even. Have you experienced that attitude toward change?
Florin: Oh, yes. Many of the leaders I’ve worked with as a consultant have said they’re frustrated by change. It’s usually one of three things: we are resistant to the change for whatever reason – maybe we’re afraid of the unknown or we’re set in our ways – or we are unsure how to communicate the change and implement it, or we are concerned about the impact on the team and morale. As people, even on an instinctual level, we don’t like change. So it is a natural struggle for leaders. But it is a struggle all the more worth overcoming.
Host: I’d say so. If we don’t want our organizations to go the way of the travel agent or the milkman then navigating change is a must. So in your experience, what are the best practical tips you can give listeners on how to best lead teams through change?
Florin: My philosophy of leadership is very relational. So in a lot of ways, if you are relational by nature, leading through change can be quite intuitive. How would you support a friend or a partner through change? Empathize with them. Support them. Empower them. We do these things in our personal relationships and we should do them for our teams. We are just taking more of an active guiding role in them than we would in our personal relationships.
It starts with effective communication. The leader clearly explains the reasons behind the change, the plan to implement the change, and how it will benefit the team and the organization. Clarity minimizes the fear of the unknown. Then, empathize. All the feelings we have about change, so do they. Show them that you hear them and see them.
Then it’s time to get the job done. Actively involve them in the process; give them the resources they need to take ownership of their new roles. And all the while, model the qualities you want to encourage. Show them efficiency; show them enthusiasm; show them embracing change and running with it. That’s how the most effective leadership is done.
Host: Florin, thanks so much for sharing your experience.
Florin: Happy to be here!
Host: This has been Leadership for the Now – until next week, listeners!
How do you respond when change confronts you?
What we do does not have to change. But how and when – those are as ever-evolving as the world we live in. Do you resist change, or do you embrace it? Or even pursue it?
Change is always coming down the pipeline. Take this week to consider how you can empathize with, support, and model a successful approach to change for your team the next time your organization makes a shift.
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