Implementing change is a significant aspect of leading organizations, especially when introducing a new vision. As I’ve been writing in recent posts, your behavior is key to success. Authenticity is critical.
As change is announced and implemented, people want the straight story—the truthful picture of what’s happening. If the leader has a secret agenda, hidden motives or suppressed information, people lose trust and won’t provide much-needed buy-in. Behind-the-scenes issues eventually become exposed, so it’s simply best to convey everything up-front with your employees.
This is especially true if the project hits snags. Being open and truthful is the best way to unify the workforce and keep them engaged. People can often handle bad news as long as they’re valued enough to be informed properly and given the chance to respond. As the saying goes, honesty is always the best policy.
An extra measure of leadership humility may be necessary, suggests change expert Bill Hogg. A leader who can admit mistakes, see a need for corrections to the plan and lay this out for their people gains the highest trust and participation in staying the course. Your authenticity diminishes their fear of change.
For an even more powerful approach, encourage your people to offer their expertise to derive solutions or improvements. Providing opportunities to fully invest in the change process yields the greatest chances for success.
Leaders should be willing and able to handle failures along the way, knowing some will pop up. This is a realistic approach, and a prepared staff can provide the most thoughtful and insightful responses. Change is difficult enough. Being prepared to step in when needed provides a teamwork that can’t be achieved any other way.
A leader’s authenticity in facing adversity, having difficult conversations, conveying their concern for their people and recognizing what needs to be improved makes the change process as rewarding as possible. Your people will grow and have the confidence to take on further changes down the road.
What do you think? What has been your experience with authenticity and behaviors that lead change? If you’d like to discuss this issue, or would like assistance as you face managing change in your organization, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.