Leading Change in an Organization
Dr. Coleen James
May 21, 2014
The reality of change is that it is likely to occur in personal life and business. In order for an organization to confront the realities of change, effective leadership is essential. Leadership is critical to the success of any change initiative. There are many forms of leadership that each come with a variety of personality traits, this paper will discuss leadership characteristics believed to be necessary to successfully manage change in organizations for the next decade and how to use Kotter’s change model to implement successful change management.
Change in simply defined as “to make something different”, according to Mr. Neryl East, the author of “Change –What it is and what it isn’t” (East, 2007). Change management is the process that an organization uses to respond and adapt to change in order to improve its effectiveness and ensure continued success (Leban & Saban, 2008). Leadership is critical to the success of any change initiative in an organization. Quality leadership characteristics are equally important to the success of an organization. When good leadership is in place in an organization, it can be felt throughout the entire organization. When good leadership exists, positive corporate culture is not forced, it is developed (Mills, 2005). Leadership is defined as a process by which one person influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of others (Leban & Stone, 2008). Leaders set a direction for everyone else and they help the people around them see what lies ahead; they help their followers to visualize what might be achieved and they encourage and inspire. Without leadership it is likely that a group of individuals would quickly collapse into argument and conflict. Leadership helps to point people in the same direction and works towards joint efforts. Leadership is the ability to get other people to do something significant that they might not otherwise do. It’s energizing people toward a goal (Mills, 2005). In order for a leader to affect change in others he/she should possess many positive characteristics such as the ability to be a good communicator, be proactive versus being reactive and be flexible and adaptable among many possible characteristics to name a few (Group, 2009). As a leader, it is equally important to deliver clear, concise and consistent messages as it is to listen. Leaders should demonstrate a willingness to work to understand the needs of others. Leaders who are able to be successful at listening are able to ask meaningful questions, consider all options and provide leadership in the right direction. Secondly, is the ability to always think ahead, being proactive instead of reactive. Leaders who possess this characteristic are able to master their work environment with the goal of avoiding potential problems before they occur. And lastly, an effective leader will adapt to new surroundings and situations, doing their best to adjust in unexpected or uncomfortable situations (Val & Kemp, 2012).
Change strategies that are believed to generally be effective for leading fundamental change are first the need for close and constant communication, it is also important to communicate regularly on the important, significant issues and topics. Also, it is important that all members of the company think and act purposefully and then communicate the assignment and required parts to each member of the department, positioning the foundation for a good fit with the company’s mission and plan. The leadership style of a manager during the change process can be either cooperative and consultative or commanding and coercive (Leban & Stone, 2008). According to Neryl East, the author of “Implementing an Effective Change Management Strategy”, when staff members are working jointly with management in a cooperative...
References: East, N. (2007). Change-What it is and what it isn 't. Retrieved from Implementing an Effective Change Management Strategy: http://www.ark-group.com/downloads/Change-Management-Chap.pdf
Group, H. L. (2009). Holden Leadership Center. Retrieved from Leadership Characteristics: Leadership Styles. Pathways: The Ontario Journal Of Outdoor Education, 24(3), 28-31.
Leban, B., Stone, R. (2008). Managing Organizational Change 2nd ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Mills, D. Q. (2005). Leadership: How to Lead, How to Live. Retrieved from The Importance of Leadership: http://www.cafanet.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=qwswE8roe74%3D&tabid=96
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Val, C., Kemp, J. (2012). Leadership Styles. The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, v24 n3 p28-31 Spring 2012 4pp.
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