You have probably heard of Gandhi’s quote. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is a great quote not just for your personal life, but for your professional one too.
Change in any organization is difficult, whether it be a new owner, new product, divesting part of the business, to culture changes. This is very hard on not just you but also the employees if they do not understand why the change is happening – remember we all need to know the answer to the question why for acceptance to begin. What is even worse if they see the leadership team saying ‘do as I say but not as I do.’
What is leadership’s role in change management? Their role is not only to approve and accept change, but to be the change as well. If they are bringing in a new product and they now tell your sales and customer service teams to go get trained on it then upsell or sell it, but they can’t answer any questions on the awesome new product when they attend a conference, how does this make them and the company look? Why would their team go out and sell it? Why should they try to learn more about it? Can the leader then truly say they value it?
What about company culture shifts? If a leader goes from believing the only thing that matters at work is the money to a workplace that is now expected to be collaborative and communicative on all matters (open door or open book) and the leader only talks about money, how can anyone believe this change needs or should happen?
A leader’s job is not only to make decisions about the company or workplace, or create implementation teams or plans, but to incorporate those changes into their work too. They must allow the employees time to accept change (the leader likely already has) and they need to see the leader buy into the change they are trying to make. Being a great role model is what is needed with any workplace change. And always answer the question Why. If they leader answers this for people and the leader is doing what they are asking the employees to, they will believe in the leader and the business.
So leaders remember to “Be the change you want to see in the world” and in your company. Walk the talk. Lead by example. Put your words into action.