You hear it all the time. Change is difficult. Fear. Resistance. Anxiety. Confusion. Anger. Emotions abound and make leaders face the intense challenges of both managing the feelings of their employees and handling their own reactions to the changes.
My advice to clients facing change? First, stop trying focusing on the change itself and simply start leading! The growth of change management and change leadership approaches in popular media and the business world is both predictable and unfortunate. The fact is, change is all around us and it’s not going away.
Think of it this way…
Leadership is all about influencing others, generating the collective energies of a group of followers toward a common goal or objective. If the goal isn’t to enact some sort of change over the status quo, then why bother leading at all? Without some sort of impetus for doing things better, becoming more efficient, increasing growth, or whatever the goal, groups wouldn’t need to be led at all. Sure, there would still need to be a modicum of management, i.e., delegation and oversight. Leadership is more than that, though.
And how do we lead?
Beyond all else, strong leadership is about understanding the emotions of followers. It’s about knowing how to motivate others toward a common purpose. It’s about understanding and responding to the emotional reactions of one’s followers. And it’s about understanding the intersection between one’s own emotional responses and the interactions of others.
Emotional intelligence is the linchpin of high quality leadership, regardless of the size or complexity of organizational change efforts.
The heart of the matter is this….don’t try leading change. Simply try leading! Focus on building your emotional intelligence and that of both your fellow leaders and your followers. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the effect that has on your organization’s ability to face and navigate any change!