Three Must-Have Skills for Leading A Transformational Change

Successfully introducing change to a business is no mean feat. It requires careful planning, a clear strategy and excellent communication. Direction needs to come from a leader who knows how to navigate company politics, who can look beyond traditional departmental responsibilities and who listens to employees at all levels. Any change leader should have the following three qualities:

1. A Willingness To Listen

One of the biggest mistakes company leaders make when they’re working on any change programme is failing to listen to all employees. Too often they only ask for feedback and ideas from senior managers. As brilliant as your managers may be, they don’t know all the details of the challenges employees face. Equally, external consultants and associates have the training and expertise to make recommendations but they aren’t the ones doing the job on a daily basis.

If you want to know what challenges employees face in the course of their job, you just need to ask them. Most employees will not only inform you of their pain points but also explain the root of the issue and suggest possible solutions. Employees who interact with customers directly, in particular, will be able to tell you what is preventing potential customers from converting or what may be impacting on the retention of existing customers.

Inevitably, your transformation isn’t going to be able to solve everybody’s problems. Any upheaval has its winners and losers and you can’t please everyone. What a skilfull change leader does, however, is demonstrate to employees that their concerns have been listened to and understood. Fail to do so and people will simply feel ignored and undervalued, as though their opinion doesn’t matter. Morale will drop and employees won’t engage with the wider transformation programme.

2. The Capacity To Inspire & Motivate

A common driver of many change programmes is cost-reduction. Invariably this leads to the loss of jobs and resources, which can cause unpleasantness in the work environment. Someone with excellent transformational leadership skills is able to put a positive spin on otherwise gloomy news. They can motivate employees to quickly absorb the losses and so minimise the impact on the end customer.

This is done by clearly explaining why costs had to be reduced and why those particular jobs or resources were cut. What may seem obvious to you, as someone holding all the information, can appear completely arbitrary to others.

3. The Ability To Stay Focused On The End Goal

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. To get through it, you always need to keep one eye on the end goal. A skilfull change leader ensures that everyone understands what a successful transformation programme looks like for their company so that employees can envision what exactly they’re working to. For example, your focus could be on installing a new computer system, relocating part of the business or acquiring a new company. Of course, to get there you are going to need a well-communicated strategy. This strategy should be flexible, outline your priorities and take note of potential risks.

Ultimately, you need to be truly passionate. If you’re not completely bought into the change programme, why should anyone else be? Effective leadership of change sets an example for others to follow. As well as outlining all the business reasons for the project, you need to sell the emotional side and get people to believe in the entire process.

 


Making Transformational Change Stick | It’s All About Meta-Changes.

6 Group’s Managing Director, James Beazley, discusses the concept of Meta-Changes and how it can nurture a culture of transformation across an entire business.

 

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