When you look around you, business changes are frequent in the current corporate environment.
These changes are caused by globalization, technology and differences in the workforce. Given these drastic changes, how do you make sure that the leaders who head the organization can manage these strategically and help the business to grow?
Strategic management and leadership are not the same as general leadership development. You need to have a specific approach which encourages leaders to perform through times that can be tough as well as challenging. Some of these tips are shared below.
- Leadership Qualities – Identify the leadership qualities that work for your organization. Do not use a generic model. You need to develop your leaders based on the qualities that your company needs, and not what the market suggests. That is the best way to help them lead when changes unique to your organization, occur.
- Values-Based Approach – Your leaders should know and communicate the organization’s values clearly. As per a McKinsey report, 75% of the change initiatives will fail. Loss of trust in leadership is a result of such failure. So you need to develop leaders who can use changes in an effective way, link it to the organization’s values and create impact.
- Listening Skills – Encourage leaders to become good listeners. Ask your leaders to actively take inputs from the front-line, on-the-ground staff. Tell them that the more they listen, the sooner they will get to know about possible changes that may arise. Listening improves not only their ability to be prepared, but it also allows them to connect with other employees. This is what drives the change process.
- Organizational Strategy – You need to create leaders who understand the basics of organizational strategy. When big changes occur, the first element to get impacted is the strategy. To ramp up quickly and have a new strategy, the leaders need to have a clear line of vision.
- Rethinking Tradition –Business has been done in a certain way in the past, traditionally and that worked very well. But leaders now, need to have the courage to rethink tradition. To be able to do that, they need your support as an organization. You need to give them the confidence to explore new territories or undertake unusual steps. You need to give them the comfort level that it is fine to fail sometimes.
- Empowered Decision Making – Give your leaders the space to make decisions, in an empowered manner. You need to do away with red-tapes or procedural bureaucracy. Create a work culture where the leaders do not feel bound by regulations or approvals. Give them the ability to take a quick decision. Your business leaders need to be able to make quick decisions. That is what will help to retain them because it shows the faith the organization has.
- Peer to Peer Connect – Are you creating an environment which allows leaders from various locations to connect? This is important for their retention and the success of any change management intervention. You need to create opportunities for them to talk to each other. Work on a structure that helps them in collaboration, not competitiveness.
- People Orientation – Many times leaders are great at understanding and driving the business end of change, but do not have the right people skills. You need to develop that skill in them. They have to accept that the biggest part of change management is people.
- Cross-Functional Know How – When major fundamental changes occur, they impact the entire organization. Knowing about all functions helps leaders to understand their colleagues in other functions better. It reduces the chances of disagreement. You have to help them break out of the silos and work together.
- Technology – All leaders do not have to be experts in technology. But they need to know how to manage the technological changes that are the biggest challenge in any change initiative.
Leaders need the organization’s support as well as the right opportunities, to develop and hone these skills, which are related to change management. Developing such capabilities is not a short term exercise, but a long term investment. You need to create a set of leaders who can not only drive change but also know that some changes are not in their control. You may also opt for change management certification programs, at times, especially when there are challenges difficult to overcome.