How to Lead Workplace Change

The only thing constant in life is change. This common phrase is really true. In the workplace especially, things can change constantly. New procedures are developed, projects tend to vary, employees come and go, acquisitions happen. But the difference between an organization that fails at change and one that succeeds is its leaders and how they led the change.

To thrive in an environment filled with constant change, it’s important to lead employees through it. But the responsibility for leading change is no longer just for the C-suite. For a change effort to have the greatest chance of success, it needs to be championed by a lot of people at many levels throughout an organization. Change efforts gather momentum from thousands of single actions by many people working together toward a shared vision.

Dimensions of Leading Change

Leaders need to handle and delegate the change effectively in order for it to be successful and adapted by the entire organization. There are five dimensions of leading change that should be followed:

  • Modeling the Change. To lead change, you must be able to show others what it means to change. You need to adapt the change first, and encourage others to follow.
  • Communicating about the Change. Communication and transparency are key. If the change is not communicated effectively with the team, they will be less likely to want to adapt to the change.
  • Involving Others in the Change. Because participation builds commitment, change leaders may need to involve others in the process. This requires a mindset that change is something everyone helps create, rather than change being something they have no control over and have to just deal with.
  • Helping Others Break From the Past. Leaders need to help others understand why the change is a good thing and encourage them to look to the future with an open mind. The goal is to generate innovative ideas for achieving the change.
  • Creating a Supportive Learning Environment. Leaders should create a supportive environment as the change happens. As the team practices new behaviors, mistakes may occur. There will be a period of trial, error, adjustment, and retrial. It’s important to be understanding during this time.

Learning More

To learn how to lead change at work, watch HRDQ’s webinar “Change Training: Leading Organizational Change Efforts”.  You will learn why change initiatives fail and how to ensure their success, how to implement a framework to actively lead change efforts, ways to plan for the success of future change through close evaluation of the current initiative, and how to apply techniques for increasing and gaining commitment to the change. Click here to watch.

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