There’s a maxim written in stone at Delphi that has guided humans for hundreds of years, and it’s “Know Thyself.” This maxim is key for leaders looking to implement change in an organization.
According to Dr. Johan Coetsee—a senior lecturer in organization and human resource management at Northumbria University, Newcastle—leaders are only successful if they have a deep understanding of themselves and their impact on others.
Coetsee interviewed 27 CEOs of multinational companies and public sector organizations in the U.K. and Ireland to determine how they managed change successfully. He discovered that authenticity and attitude—more so than a change management model—factored predominately in winning over employees in transitioning an organization.
“Many managers are very good in terms of the technical aspects of change. They are able to identify the change to structure or implementation but they forget the softer side of change management—the employees,” he said. “If a leader wants to create alignment between their vision and their people, they need to ask themselves how they feel about change on a personal level. Successful CEOs place a high emphasis on being authentic, being themselves. People need to be able to trust you. If you’re not a charismatic leader, there is no point faking it as you will lack authenticity, instead you need to understand who you are and what your values are. Your attitude to change will influence how the change occurs and whether it will be successful.”
Of course, change is constant.
“Managing change initiatives successfully can be the difference between organisations and teams that thrive and those that come apart at the seams,” he said. “Winning hearts and minds is key, as being good at managing a project isn’t the same as being a good manager of change. You need to create a sense of readiness for change.”
Gives you something to thing about, eh?