Leading Change FAQs
What is the difference between change management and change leadership?
Change management typically involves the mechanics of implementing a specific change initiative, including the systems, processes, procedures, standards, and structures associated with it. Change management includes setting goals, targets, action steps, and milestones that help leaders monitor progress and achieve desired outcomes.
Change leadership is the mindset and behaviors of leaders that drive the transformation and is more people focused. It includes the intentional process of helping people navigate the internal, psychological process of a transition. Change leadership involves communicating a compelling vision of the future, influencing others, providing support and coaching, sustaining momentum with a particular change initiative, and creating a resilient culture.
What is the role of a change leader?
Leaders are change drivers for two reasons: (1) they see the need for change and (2) they work hard to push the needed change forward. Both components are necessary. The power of a change leader is not just in his or her ability to proactively see and understand the changes that are needed, but to intervene and take action on change initiatives in order to achieve better results for the organization. Some leaders are better equipped to manage change with ease and resiliency than others but developing the ability to effectively lead change can be learned.
Change leaders make a compelling case for the changes that are being introduced and help others understand the necessity and value of those changes. They also acknowledge the loss people feel and address the natural fears, concerns, and resistance that often accompany change.
Change leaders define new expectations, behaviors, and the commitment needed from people. When leading others through transitions, leaders set a new direction and share a compelling vision of the future so people can see the possibilities and what success looks like. They collaborate on action plans and influence others to take ownership for execution. As changes are implemented, leaders provide ongoing coaching and support. One of the most important roles of a change leader is creating alignment with key stakeholders so initiatives can be cascaded throughout the organization in a timely and practical way.
What are the types of change?
Two types of change occur in organizations: change that is driven by someone or something and change that occurs naturally. Driven change is deliberate and designed with a specific purpose in mind. The catalyst for this type can be forces that are either internal or external, and sometimes they are both. Change that is intentional is important because it allows leaders to shape the future, capitalize on opportunities, and proactively address issues and challenges.
Why is change important?
In this competitive world, organizations that want to be relevant in the future have no choice but to transform and evolve. Leaders have to be at the forefront of change and take action on new ideas and windows of opportunity to maintain or achieve competitive advantage. They cannot conduct business as usual and must do things that are different from the things that were done in the past.
Change produces a fascinating duality—negative consequences are inevitably paired with positive benefits. Likewise, positive outcomes can be distilled from negative changes that unfold with the organization. Whether a change is viewed as positive or negative, it is a necessary part of an organization’s growth and evolution. Even though it can be uncomfortable, forward-thinking leaders seek out and drive change deliberately because they desire to make things better.
Why do people resist change?
There are many reasons why people resist change, but here are some of the most common reasons:
- The purpose of the change is unclear.
- They are surprised about the change.
- They don’t have input in decisions or plans to implement the change.
- They mistrust the person communicating or initiating the change.
- There is a history of poorly implemented changes in the organization.
- They are naturally change-averse and too comfortable with the status quo.
- They feel they are losing status, power, influence, structure, competence, and or relationships.
- The change will impact security and interests.
- They don’t believe it is necessary.
- Key managers don’t appear to support the change.
Leaders play an important role in coaching and influencing people who are resistant to change.