With so many companies looking to a make change in their culture, or general business aspects; we look to our leadership to drive that change. But not all leaders are prepared, nor have the skills to drive continuous and sustainable change. What traits should you look for in a change Leader?
Charismatic- Leaders who possess this trait, have the ability to convince and influence others, they should follow or miss out on something special. People generally struggle with change, but are more likely to accept, the possibility there may be something exciting on the horizon, if the message is delivered by an inspiring leader. A charismatic leader can pave the way for developing the initial "following", and create energy and interest.
Provides clear direction - Once the "following" has settled down from the initial excitement, your leader better be prepared to provide some clear direction. Instinctively people will start to think about, how can we do this, and how will this impact me? Providing clear direction, will give people a sense of purpose and understanding how they fit in, to the overall plan. Working with a simple visible process, that outlines how the change will be achieved, will help people understand.
Communicator- It is not enough for your leader to be just a good talker, they must be a great communicator...People are very diverse when it comes to communication, so your leader must ensure an inclusive approach, covering verbal, written and visual communication styles. Getting the message across can be one of the most challenging aspects of change, yet possibly the most important.
Open to new concepts-These leaders recognize they are not always the ones who have all the great ideas. In fact these leaders seek out, and encourage innovation in the workplace, creating a supportive environment. They are constantly challenging the norm, and never accepting that things cannot be improved. Letting go and trusting in others is not always easy for managers, however the benefits of empowerment are well recognised and documented. This leader will look at benchmarking and visiting other industries, to gain an understanding of best practice and innovation.
Courage- Being the leader that drives change, also means that every now and again, you or someone in your team will get things wrong. The nay sayer's are waiting in suspense for this to happen, so it is important the leader takes on the challenge for the team, there is no room for shrinking violets here. It also takes courage to make changes around culture and people, to have the ability to stand out from the crowd, and suggest the current way we do things around here, can be changed for the better.
Resilience - These leaders do not let failure or poor outcomes, stop them from moving forward, in fact they regard these things as a critical part of the process, to assist in making better decision in the future. They never stop with their overall enthusiasm, relentlessly chasing their ideal or dream, no matter who or what gets in the way. This is an essential trait as a change leader, as the initial energy around a significant change start to wain, this leaders continues to drive an motivate those around them.
What traits do you look for in a Change Leader?