10 Ways to Lead With Change Management

August 09, 2022

Change management is more than just a trend or a phase; it’s an opportunity for us to lead our teams and colleagues into a bright and collaborative future.

But how can you lead the push for change? What steps can you take to develop your skills and empower yourself to guide others?

That’s what we’ll explore today:

Recognize That Change Is Everywhere

Lately, it seems like the only constant in both our personal and professional lives is change.

Some leaders are helping their teams adapt a hybrid workflow, some are focusing on helping their teams transition to new areas of focus and business conditions. Others are streamlining their approaches to hiring and rethinking how to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into that process.

The constant requirement between all these kinds of changes? Great leadership.

How to Lead Change Successfully: 10 Ways

1. Be Authentic

People don’t trust what they don’t understand, and the key to getting any kind of buy-in is making sure that your team trusts you and your motivations.

Leaders who hide their feelings and reactions aren’t creating opportunities for trust-building. While you don’t want to cry on your employee’s shoulders, you can improve your relationships and build trust by sharing your own challenges and experiences.

Sharing examples of how you understand what someone is going through or when you faced a similar difficulty in your life is more likely to draw people in and create an environment of openness and sharing that paves the way for change.

2. Be Inspirational

Leadership means consistently communicating your vision for the future and bringing everyone along with you.

Authentically expressing optimism and creating a compelling vision for what the future could be is one of the best ways to get buy-in when it comes to change. 

Tie the changes to business objectives and give people a sense of what things will be like, and how they’ll fit into this new vision of their team and organisation’s success.

3. Be Patient

Reinforce the change by celebrating the big and small wins, and recognize that there will be setbacks and challenges along the way.

Be patient and considerate when holding people accountable for changes in behaviour, and remember to engage with people on emotional and intellectual levels. 

4. Be Present and Visible

Effective change comes from the top, and that means that senior leaders (not just you, but everyone) needs to be visible, active, and committed to modelling the change and attitudes they want to see.

Humans are heavily influenced by “modelling,” or watching other people, so how leaders act plays a critical role in implementing change.

For example, if you’re ready for people to come back to the office, make sure that you’re there, too. If you want remote meetings to be more engaging and productive, make sure you’re in every meeting with your camera on.

5. Be Educational

People often resist change because they worry that it will impact their performance in a negative way.

With this in mind, make sure to create opportunities for learning, upskilling, and training or orientation. For example, if you’re introducing a new software system, give people the chance to take training to learn how to use it.

6. Be Inclusive

People are more likely to accept change when they feel a sense of involvement and ownership, so make sure to include middle management in your change management plans. 

Talk to the people working between you and other employees. Asking for their input, feedback, and insights into how to implement changes you want to make, will be more effective. 

Not only does getting buy-in from people at this level help get everyone on board, but it ensures that you’ll get as much feedback as possible, which can help identify issues, bottlenecks, and other challenges that may come up.

7. Be Proactive

Be intentional about giving people the information they need, when they need it. At the start of a change, communicate information that’s contextual (what’s causing the change) and personal (what’s in it for your people). 

As the change continues, keep communicating about details, procedures, and logistics on an ongoing basis. This gives people the chance to provide feedback and feel involved, and reduces friction as things change.

8. Be Reflective

It’s easy to rush into change without taking time to learn and reflect, so make sure to be intentional by setting up an evaluation process to measure things pre-and-post change.

Setting up processes in advance isn’t just about assessing the outcomes of change, but the success of the process itself. 

9. Be Evolutionary

Change doesn’t have a clear-cut start, middle, and end. Let your teams know that you’ll be continuing to learn, grow, and adapt as you move forward together.

When people realise that change isn’t final, it can take the edge off and reduce the stress that can come with a desire for perfection or a specific outcome.

10. Be Empowering

In any situation there tends to be a loud minority of people, but that doesn’t mean they speak for everyone.

Make sure to continue to listen and seek out feedback from people who may not otherwise speak up through anonymous polls, surveys, 1:1 meetings, and by creating an atmosphere of communication in the workplace.

Build Your Change Management Skills 

Learn to identify how individuals and teams deal with change and how to shift behaviors and manage change more effectively. Become certified in the Change Style Indicator® (CSI) today!