In an change effort, the worst leaders can do is to ignore the emotional aspect of the change process.
Impact organizations are 'people organizations.' The people are the lifeblood of the organization for which any discussion about growth, scaling-up, or stability is generally about how the people can be nurtured, developed, managed to get to your strategic objectives.
While the change management field is filled with approaches and strategies to slay resistance and achieve a transformational change that any CEO would be proud of, in general, emotions can get the better of any leader.
In a recent local change effort that I have studied, I noticed that the President in his speech only mentioned once that they will be compassionate with the people that will be affected by the change.
Being compassionate is one thing but before they begin to determine the extent of impact that changes will have on staff, they should have the following at the back-end:
1) increased relations with every one concerned, even before the impacts will be felt, communicating what is to come and determining the best method to resolve it without accruing undue stress for staff;
2) increased trust-building; a low level of trust does not engender cooperation to find the best solutions for all parties;
3) increasing the voice of employees, whether they have a say or not, they should be informed and their voices heard;
4) build a strong follow-through in your every action; no one wants to be left behind after a decision had been made from the top;
These are not good-t0-haves but are musts when it comes to managing the emotions, defusing tension, and building a more collaborative approach to solutions-finding.
When one think that people will take a very rationale approach to changes is a very unfounded reaction. People have built in resistance to anything that could disrupt or alter their existing comforts, positions, and privileges. Moving them along towards a better state means more work on the journey where denial, resistance, and low-energy can bring your efforts to a grinding halt or slow motion.
Emotions are powerful elements if used in a positive way. In reality, a negative emotion is a fact and must be managed well.
It's risky to do all these steps after you have announced a change or about to announce one.
I just said today that ethics trumps talent in a class.
One said, "so it's okay to hire mediocre but good people in your organization.'
Talent is so overrated and that hiring managers are beginning to look at not just the 'soft side' of competence but the overall adaptability and mindset of the person they are looking to hire.
At the end of the day, the worst corporate scandals are committed by people who are have no qualms circumventing the laws of the land to suit their motives and agenda.
This is not a zero-sum game either. There has been a shift towards hiring employees who do not have the perfect CV or educational background but have the right mental, emotional, and intellectual fitness for long-term growth. Good enough is better than someone that can't be trusted to make major decisions for the company, whose integrity is questionable or consistency suspect.
At the end of the day, when ethical dilemmas arise in the workplace, which always happen, in micro or macro way, we hope and pray that the one making the decision has the moral and ethical code he/she lives by daily. We hope that our HR managers can stand up for what's right in a given situation. We hope that our executives truly exhibit transformative leadership.
Ethics is the cornerstone in our businesses and organizations. It's the rudder in a turbulent, volatile and ambiguous world we live in. It's the compass, without which we will become a civilization without a heart and soul.
I was teaching a Management Course for the last four weeks now and everyone agreed that we could do better in the area of active listening.
Listening is a under-developed skill for the majority of professionals and managers.
We always have to have a say when simply the answer can be found in listening with intentions.
80% of conflicts and misunderstandings can be prevented and resolved by simply listening with the heart and mind together.
We do not have to win every argument or be the last one to say something marvelous. We don't need to be 'the smartest person' in the room either.
We don't need to boost our ego for senseless showmanship.
I heard one person talked about using 'verbal judo' in dealing with difficult people.
I would say, try the active listening jujitsu first and see the difference.
Organizations with individuals who are full of egos are heading towards an internal sabotage, if not abated.
These individuals who have talent but lack empathy and self-awareness, no matter how valuable they are in the organization are running on a limited bandwidth.
When push comes to shove, their talent can't be depended on when a serious adjustments and adaptations are required from everyone in the organization.
When strategic thinking is required, they tend to reason out why things can't be done in the organization versus having a mindset of openness and flexibility.
Misaligned teams and Boards do not ever accomplish more than they intend to do. They can be the proverbial 'stumbling block' to serious attempt at steering the organization to a better direction.
If there are too many fragile egos in the room, prepare to use more than fair share of wisdom and insight.
You need an expert strategy advisor to help you navigate the politics in your organization.
Let me help you get to where you want to go.
Convert selfish egos to productive work.
Leaders must understand each context in order to use the right leadership styles in a given situation.
First order of business is sense-making. The ability to make sense with the environment and structure the unknown.
Second is the ability to apply the best leadership and managerial approach in that context. There are many styles ranging from charismatic, transformational, authoritarian, consensus-based, among others. Use them wisely with a certain objective in mind and learn to adapt as you go along.
Third, reflect on what happened when you applied a certain leadership approach. Did it matter at the end of the day? Were your staff able to understand why you had to act that way? What were the results in behaviors and attitudes towards work? Did it solve the problem at hand?
You can't be a one-pony-show at all times. You have to exhibit a wide range of responses and styles that could help you not just solve day-t0-day problems but lead you to your strategic goals as a leader and manager.
Instead of being reactive, choose adaptive. Instead of putting out fires on a daily basis, embrace ambiguity and improvisation.
What's the relationship between creativity, innovation, change, and leadership?
Creativity: People don't stare at the unknown and wait for the 'aha' moment. They create new things out of old, and turn old things to new activities, services, or products.
Innovation: People apply their creativity as solutions to daily problems. Innovation is not just a step up, but creating new out of nothing.
Change: People have pragmatic expectations of changes in the organization and are willing to join into uncertainty which is a demonstration of commitment.
Leadership: The change process is muddier than we all imagine it to be. Even muddier in the layered context of the pandemic. Leadership without doubt, provides a good lever to buffer against resistance and cooptation.
If your organization is struggling to bring about a transition to better in the pandemic context, keep reiterating and don't stop until you get the culture right.
Without fostering the right culture, creativity, innovation, change, and leadership will remain as idealized concepts. instead of transplanting new values, consider what shared unconscious beliefs are existing and double-dip on it.
Hearts and minds follow emotions, not logic.