Ever wondered why changes are easier to implement when organization leaders lead the change and the employees follow? Change management experts will readily attest that their jobs are made easier when organization leaders lead the change effort by modeling the desired change. When this is the case, employees fall in line easily without resistance. They see this as the way forward. They all seem to conclude, “If the big boss could embrace the change, why not me?”
The question really is why are employees so resistant to change even when very little effort is required to ensure this change? A lot of employees would rather they are allowed to do things the way they are used to doing it rather than being asked to learn new ways to get those things done . It does not matter to them whether the new ways will in the long run make the accomplishment of results easier, faster and yield better returns for the business. Ordinarily, it should have been, if the change will make my job lighter and make the business better, why not? Experience has shown that this is very far from the truth. This may not be true for all employees, but certainly true for a number of them. Change managers who are lucky to work with employees that embrace change more easily will report better numbers than those who don’t.
The job of the change manager is made easier when “the big boss” lines up in front to own, and offer support to the change effort. Lining up in front does not mean the leader should take personal responsibility to lead the team. It means offering every necessary support to ensure the success of the desired change by demonstrating the change through affirmative actions and endorsements. When the leader does this he gives the change initiative a semblance of seriousness, urgency and importance which becomes too compelling for the employees to ignore. A different result is achieved when the “boss” takes the back sit and acts contrary to the change that is being proposed. When this happens, employees’ faith in the change process is weakened and their belief in the change itself becomes uncertain. Thereafter, every effort to align them to the change becomes a drag.
When company executives complain about the difficulty in making changes happen in their organizations, the first question to ask them is, “How involved are you in the implementation of change in your organization?” Some employee’s innate fear of the unknown might make the implementation of changes really difficult to pull through especially when they are directly affected, and have a feeling that the effect may produce some discomfort. However, when this fear is allayed through proper explanations and good information management, and the executive stays in the forefront, the level of willingness to comply could be amazing.
When an organization is struggling to make changes happen, the problem could just be that that the leader is taking the back seat instead of sitting in front. Just in case you are wondering how? Take a look behind you, you will find him quietly seated in the back row.
- Joseph Anetor, ICM