It seems that our basic brain physiology is designed to accommodate learning and growth on the one hand whilst at the same time being resistant to imposed change. How can our leaders best deal with that reality and what specifically can leaders do if anything to help facilitate change in individuals and teams.
Well the good news for leaders is that there are some things that you can do and at the same time probably some things that you should try and stop doing unintentionally. Contemporary Neuroscience is starting to give us some “How to’s” on change and I don’t mean endless mechanistic change methodology checklists either. Look change readiness assessments and and all the paraphernalia of change project management frameworks are useful, and have their place but estimated global change project effectiveness at 30% rates suggests they are not the whole story.
The trouble is that they are based on flawed principles of rationality in human beings. “If we could only communicate effectively enough for long enough our employees will see the wisdom of our change and rationally choose to get on board”. Well some might I suppose “the quick adopters ” but the truth is we are profoundly self interested emotional beings and much of our responses to change ( I am talking about both leaders and followers here) have very little to do with rationality.
So how can leaders influence the emotional perceptions of their colleagues? STOP :- it needs to start with themselves befote they attempt to influence others. Global research suggests many Leaders respond to and cope with organisational change by working harder, taking fewer risks and keeping their heads down just at the time when their teams are paying more attention to them and looking for greater visibility of leadership and clarification. So leaders need to “lead themselves” in order to be in the best place to provide leadership to others. Assuming they can do that how can leaders positively influence their teams?
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