Are You a Catalyst for Change?

Which camp do you belong to: the one that whole-heartedly believes change is good? Or are you in the other camp thinking, “Wait, nobody likes change…”? Do you think change is positive or negative?

In the minds of your colleagues, it’s likely to be both. Some folks are excited to move on to something new, and others would be content if things stayed exactly the way they are. Chances are, the people you will lead through transitions and transformations feel very differently about change. And it’s up to you to motivate, support and lead your team, trying to avoid as many roadblocks as possible.

As we discuss in our DeVryWORKS Thought Leadership presentation on change management*, to become a successful change leader, learn how to effectively manage two types of change in the business world: organization transitions and people transitions.

Whether you’re facing organizational transitions like departments merging or landing new business, or people transitions like employee training or new managers, it helps to understand what kind of qualities needed for an effective leader to facilitate change.

Be a Champion of Change

Great change leaders tend to have certain characteristics:

  • They are curious and probe for understanding and meaning
  • They are willing to adapt based on the situation and the needs of the team
  • They know how to learn from every situation
  • They are willing to try new things and balance risk with reward

One author of change theory created a practical model to help explain what leaders can do to get people through the transition process toward commitment, buy-in and ultimately success.

This model suggests that the first thing leaders should do is understand how people generally experience change. Everyone reacts differently. Change requires individual energy and emotional investments—the role of the manager is not to plan, control and manage transitions for people, but to help them understand transitions and allow them to work through the process.

The really interesting thing about change? Instead of a beginning, it typically starts with an ending. People have to “let go” of the past before they can deal with the future. The failure to identify and get ready for endings and losses is a large difficulty for people in transition.

*To learn more about the key areas of change management, ask about our DeVryWORKS webinar, “Are You a Catalyst for Change?” which this article was excerpted from. The presentation covers barriers to change, how to overcome them, change leadership and more. Click here to request more information.