Successful Change Needs Strong Leadership

Strong leadership is at the heart of Change Management. Being able to take tough decisions, visibly living the change that you are championing, having tenacity and ensuring that people are brought along with the grand vision. These principles are at the core of leadership and are the key to driving successful change.

As Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America, there is the potential for great change. A new era. A more inclusive direction. This transition of power might be the largest and most globally important “change” project happening right now, so what do we look for in strong leaders?

Seeing the bigger picture

Strong leaders will understand the end goal, the big vision and they will appreciate that the journey there may be undulating. The role of the leader is to always have this in mind and remind others when their outlook becomes blurred by the volume of details.

Self Awareness

In order to inspire others, it is important to understand who you are, what you believe in and why you are fit to lead. If you can acknowledge and accept your faults and weaknesses as well as understanding your strengths then you will earn respect from those you need to inspire.

Valuing and learning from those around you

Strong leaders will be able to learn from others. They will see and value what others can bring to the table rather than fill the room with their own voice. Building a strong team means encouraging input from all. Nick Fewings, CEO from Ngagementworks says:

“Great leaders recognise and appreciate that they don’t have all the answers, and therefore purposefully build a team around them, that includes individuals, with different technical capabilities, behavioural skills and experience.

This helps them to gain a broader and deeper understanding of where they are, taking into account different perspectives, knowledge and experience.

This in turn, helps to inform the decisions and actions that need to be taken, to implement change in the most effective and efficient way, whilst maximising benefits and return on investment, so they get to where they need to be.”

Building a Diverse Team

There is so much to be gained from diversity of thought. If everyone around you looks the same, was raised the same and thinks the same then your outlook will perhaps be less rounded. Biden has always said it is important to have a diverse administration and he has appointed more women as cabinet nominees than any of his predecessors. Furthermore, 40% are from non-white backgrounds(1). Kamala Harris will be the first female and the first black and Asian American person to serve as Vice President in the US.

Being Authentic to Drive Out Resistance

In order to build trust you must be authentically passionate about what you are trying to achieve as other people’s passion can be truly infectious. Resistance to change often goes hand in hand with lack of trust. People need to be able to believe in you to follow your vision and any inauthenticity will be sniffed out immediately.

Communicating Effectively

57% of projects fail because of a breakdown in communication(2). Effective communication isn’t just knowing which words to choose… it means finding the right platform, the right tone and communicating at the right times. Strong leaders will be able to anticipate the reactions of those they are talking to because they will be tuned in to how others think. By this notion, they can frame what they have to say in order to win over their audience.

Visibly Live the Change

Any change, including structural or process change can have a huge human impact on people personally and culturally. Strong leaders need to model the change visibly to show they believe in it. Biden will be hoping to bring in some big changes during his term in office. His leadership will need to be strong to deliver this. He has already stated he wants Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office to prevent the further spread of coronavirus(3). He has modelled the change himself by pointedly always wearing a mask in public throughout the pandemic.

At Nine Feet Tall, we are always looking to help organisations to make change a reality and to make it last. We understand the key components needed and can come and identify why complex change projects are not taking the shape they should. For more information contact: EstherM@NineFeetTall.com

(1) https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/01/13/just-how-diverse-is-presidents-biden-prospective-cabinet/

(2) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312040736_Project_success_and_new_ventures’_outcomes_How_often_do_partners’_potential_benefits_and_losses_really_converge

(3) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55182309

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