Change – 3 things you can do to lead it from ANY role

Change is relatively easy, when it’s our choice.  They key is how you react when it is not your choice.

  • I wanted to try a different haircut.  Easy.  Mom takes you to the salon and ‘the stylist was terrible’.  Not so easy and you cry and tell her you hate her.
  • You make a choice to leave a job for a new one.  relatively Easy.  Your employer decides you need a new job.  Hard and you stop trusting leaders and companies.
  • Your leader involves you in a conversation about a restructuring of the work in your company. relatively Easy.  Your leader brings you into a room to share the new organizational structure they created in the last few months AND your job changes.  Hard and you tell your leader it is a dumb idea and you will not support it under any circumstances.

Leaders involve people in conversations that drive change.  Effective leaders do anyway.

It is also a harsh reality that we cannot expect our leaders to involve us in everything.  There are lots of reasons why you will not be involved – time, leader decides not to ask, leader can’t tell you, you are viewed as bringing little value to strategic conversations, they forgot to ask, etc.

Here are three things individuals need to do to reset themselves for change:

  1. Get emotional – constructively!  Go work out, write an email – then DELETE it, put your corporate logo/leaders picture on a dart board and play darts, or go watch Office Space.  Bottling it up is no good.  Just let it out in a way that does not pollute the atmosphere around the change.  Not everything we are thinking needs to be heard, and it is normal to experience a strong voice of resistance in our heads when the change hits.
  2. Make a choice: Are you ready to lead it or explore what it means and what role you can play?  Not asking you to be a lemming, just telling you not to be the person who silently tries to make it fail.  If you decide to become the resistance to change, don’t be surprised if your role in future changes becomes smaller.
  3. Ask questions:  Information is needed for us to process change and it will help the leader share the why for the change.  The only way for you to effectively lead the change is to be able to talk about it with the passion and knowledge of your leader.  Asking great questions will help that.

You should expect your leaders to manage change well, and give them a little grace when it does not go so well.  You can help by mastering the process of going through change as someone who contributes and participates in it.  As Seth Godin would say – those people are Linchpins.  Leaders need more Linchpins!