Follow My Leader – Leaders Need to Walk the Talk to Effect Change

Leader’s role

While a leader is expected to have many responsibilities in any project involving change, there are two major areas of responsibility:

1. Determine the direction of change.

2. Make everyone aware of its importance.

The first part of this role’s importance is well understood. However, the second part, which is often overlooked or done poorly, can be of greater importance.

This can be done in the form of presentations or handing out memos. These can be useful, but are often not done well.

“Do what I say, but not as much as I do!” ”

Many of you will have heard this from your parents.

This is too often the message sent to employees by senior management during major changes. Employees will be expected to attend seminars or workshops, and are also sent emails and memos highlighting their importance. Even a major presentation by the managing Director may precede these, in which the director stresses that all employees must support the project. The senior managers then continue with their normal work as if nothing has changed.

The Managing Director has to miss a session as he has a business meeting with a major client. After the sales director uses this excuse, the Finance Director has to miss the next session as he has a meeting at the auditors. The next round is cancelled because no salesmen are able to attend. All the clients have meetings, the payroll clerk cannot come because wages must still be processed. And the management accountant uses his excuses to make sure he gets the month’s accounts out.

The project soon goes off the rails, and the managing directors is now wondering why. The simple truth is that people tend to follow the lead of their Brandon Long Denver, rather than following what they are told. The Managing director made it clear that his meeting for a client was more valuable than the project. After this, the sales director picked up the message. Finally, the finance director is sure that his meeting is as important as any client meeting. This message then gets passed to the people who report to them until nobody attaches any importance this project.

Perception

The project must be given the priority it deserves by the senior management team. Sometimes, this is done best by acting out of character and demonstrating the importance of the project. This could mean missing a golf trip to attend the workshop session. The trick is to get people talking at the canteen about how important management should view this project. For example, if the managing Director is missing his Saturday morning golf, etc.

Listen and act

You can demonstrate the importance of a project by listening to feedback, such as those from workshops. You must act immediately on this feedback. This shows that the project is possible to make a significant impact on the business and that everyone can contribute.

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