AbstractDynamic organizations continually require change to survive and prosper. Leaders are called upon to assume the task of collaborating with colleagues and superiors, motivating team members, and instituting the needed organizational changes.
Models of managerial behavior have been formulated to guide leaders in sorting out which changes are necessary for an organization. The ultimate test of leadership, as articulated in the book, Developing the Leader Within You, is to create positive change. How leaders can create a climate of change and succeed as change agent requires a process of instilling the right mindset, motivating people, and harnessing their energies and talents to come up with the best solutions to problems.The Importance of Creating Positive ChangeIn the contemporary era, there are many ways to become an effective leader. There are myriad tasks that a leader needs to accomplish, and oftentimes the right set of skills may help in accomplishing goals and steering a company to success. A man at the helm of a firm may rely on the expertise of managers to train and strengthen team members, but creating positive change usually has to emanate from the top.
The book, Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell, lays down some practical guidelines on how present-day leaders can be receptive to change, spur others to embrace change, and overcome barriers to growth. The central message of chapters four to 6 of the book is that positive change can be instituted, and it all starts with the right attitude.The path to creating positive changes may be fraught with challenges and obstacles, but a good leader relies on honed skills and techniques to make it happen.
The best leaders take time and effort to consider the human side of enterprise to more easily create positive change. The process of instituting change may begin by earning the trust and respect of subordinates and looking after their varied needs, while not overlooking the attainment of organizational objectives. A leader’s foremost tasks must also include inspiring accountability in people, and helping them be more capable and willing to perform assigned vital roles to spur the growth of an organization.
It takes investment of time and resources, and a focused stance, but when things fall into place, such a leadership approach can translate to positive gains both for the workforce and the organization.When analyzing why some leaders fail while others succeed in attaining their goals, it may be helpful to assess what leadership traits and approaches are used by those who excel. A closer look at most corporations or groups bound by a common objective will show that leaders with strong convictions and ability to take calculated risks, and who value human resources as a vital cog in the organization, are often the ones who can effect real change. In other words, a competent leader is one who takes care of both the business and human relations aspects of running an enterprise.
A dynamic leader goes out of his comfort zone to take the lead on where the corporation should go, while not forgetting the importance of ingraining in people the importance of ethical standards, establishing trust, and building both confidence and competence. One of indicators of a leader who is bound to encounter trouble is being too self-absorbed to see the importance of motivating people. A leader who is disorganized and fails to set a clear direction to lay the foundation for change may likewise encounter uncooperative team members and related problems. Good leaders lead by example, showing employees that they are serious about corporate policies and ethical guidelines. Company heads must keep employees informed on what the overall organizational mission is, how the employees will benefit from upholding it, and the other advantages of embracing change.
By being informed, employee morale gets a boost and employees become more motivated to work.In real-life work settings, there are leaders — and followers as well — who tend to be resistant to change owing to a number of factors, like unpreparedness to make a commitment and to expend more time than they can actually offer. Many different factors need to be assessed before setting out to institute changes. Timing is one. More importantly, the leader “must first understand the two important requisites to bringing about change: knowing the technical requirements of the change, and understanding the attitude and motivational demands for bringing it about” (Maxwell, 1993, p. 52).
A perceptive, people-oriented leader, especially one who has risen up the ranks and had his/her share of obeying superiors, understands that followers normally want their needs met and their voices heard, or at least be given the opportunity to offer their inputs. “They simply don’t like the idea of being manipulated or feeling like pawns of the system” (Maxwell, 1993, p. 56). Leaders who create a conducive work environment, are attuned to workers’ needs, and elicit feedback are, in effect, fostering creative thinking and cooperation. By making people understand why certain changes must be made and letting them take part in the process of change, leaders also gradually break down the barriers to acceptance of those changes.
Aside from being uninformed and unenlightened, another big reason why people resist change or insist on the status quo is “fear of the unknown or “traveling in uncharted waters” (Maxwell, 1993, p. 57) which is part and parcel of change. Good leaders empower people to find the best solutions to problems, rather than always stepping in to provide the solutions themselves.To create a climate for change, some leaders take time to form cohesive work groups and delegate responsibility to capable team leaders. If you take a look at team leaders in organizations today, you will probably note that the best ones who do well in their jobs are those who can take responsibility not just for tasks but for their attitudes.
The exemplary ones are those who look out after the best interest of everyone in the organization, not just his/her own personal agenda and welfare. A leader who intends to be a change agent needs to train his/her sights on several things, then. Rather than wasting time on negative, unproductive thought, that leader must work on letting employees/followers understand or see the big picture. A leader can be successful in bringing about positive change by letting people cast out negativity. This will only be possible if everything is clear from the outset and followers obtain a sense of understanding on why change must take place and what is expected of them. What is essentially important is the relationship that the leader is able to nurture with people. “If the relationship is positive, then the leader is ready to take the next step” (Maxwell, 1993, p. 67).
People are more likely to embrace changes if the purpose is clear and if there is trust and respect for the leader proposing the change. Resistance or barriers to change need to be overcome. Success in effecting positive changes lies a great deal on the right attitude and problem-solving approach, not just of the leader, but of his team of followers.ReferenceMaxwell, J. (1993). Developing the leader within you.
Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.