One Essential Secret to Change Leadership Success
One key way to drive your leadership success
Leadership success is vital in all businesses but there's one major block that most people face. Find out what you need to change to ensure success. By Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
When two leaders recently called me to ask if I would help them engage employees in an upcoming change, I reflected on how my work in this area repeatedly comes back to a single issue. During this particular phone call, my thoughts went back to another engagement that typified the repeating pattern and the one essential secret it reveals.
An HR leadership team in a company was implementing change on management style and technique. They wanted my assistance because they had struggled with manager resistance. As I spoke with them, I could see that the approach they had taken up to that point was highly structured and planned. We spoke about what successes they had to date and where they had struggled. It was clear to me that their structured approach did not engage the managers they wanted to reach. Perhaps even more telling was that this HR leadership team still thought the structured approach was good. Hmm...
I proposed that I facilitate sessions that would get away from telling and focus on questions and dialogue with and among the managers.
They wanted to know exactly what questions I would ask. I outlined the questions I would ask at the start and then noted we would take it from there. They insisted that we plan all the questions. I told them that would put us back in telling mode. Not good.
It is much better to have subsequent questions depend on how the managers reply to the initial questions and on the questions they raise. Moreover the examples managers highlight about the challenges they foresee, help guide the flow of the session. This approach is key because the managers' responses, questions, and examples are how they lower their own resistance.
The HR leaders stared at me. They were still resistant. They saw it as a detour away from the change they wanted to "drive home." They wanted to drive away manager resistance and thought my approach would do the opposite. As we discussed it further, I helped them to see that dialogue doesn't create nor strengthen resistance. On the contrary, the manager resistance was already there and had actually strengthened as HR talked at them instead of with them.
HR finally agreed to my approach and we moved ahead with great success. Perhaps the most telling moment was at the end when managers said to HR and to me, thank you for valuing our views and trusting us to be responsible and make this change happen.
From this story, you might think the secret is involve those who must make the change happen because people resist being changed. Although that is absolutely true, it isn't a secret. You've read it many times.
The one essential secret to change leadership success is ...
Overcome your resistance to change before asking others to change.
Leaders: Overcome your need to control and your fear of letting go. Overcome your comfort of habit. Overcome your resistance to trying a different approach.
If you don't, how can you ask those you lead to go through the fear and discomfort of change that you yourself avoid? It's presumptuous, selfish, and breeds resistance. If you don't believe in changing, why should they?
Lead change with the courage to change yourself. ~Kate Nasser
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©2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share the URL to this post on your social streams. If you want to republish the content, please email for permission before doing so. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Grateful for above header image by langstrup via licensed copyright from 123RF.com.
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