Tag Archive for: management

Why Are Leaders So Afraid of Change?

It’s common for organizations and teams to undergo changes in leadership or structure.

This typically happens when organizations make cuts in their workforce, when they spinoff businesses or functions, or when they merge with, or acquire new businesses or functions into their portfolio.

Change also takes place when a new leader is brought from outside to lead the team, or when an internal member of the leadership team is promoted to become the new leader or CEO of the group.

These types of events always provide leaders with opportunities to create a new chapter and new beginnings, which is a very good thing.

I think most people would agree that it doesn’t really work to simply jump from one chapter to another without a proper transition phase. The transition doesn’t have to be long. However, organizations and teams need the chance to bring closure and completion to how they’ve done things in the previous chapter before they can fully start the next chapter of doing something in a new or different way.

The bigger the change, the bigger and more important the transition phase. Those who underestimate this often find themselves carrying forward old baggage from one initiative, chapter or relationship to the next. As a result they often repeat the same mistakes and fall into the same traps and dysfunctional dynamics.

In organizations, people refer to the management of transitioning between phases as “Change Management.” Unfortunately, most organizations and teams are not good at this.

Leaders have an essential role in leading their organization through the transition between the old and the new.

What is the role of the leaders?

Please click here to read the rest of this article which I recently published in Entrepreneur.com about what is the role of leaders in change and why most leaders are afraid of change and their role in driving it?

Photo via Entrepreneur article

Blunt honesty is the right approach both in business and at home.

I love working with leaders who are relentless about driving a culture of open, honest and courageous communication around them. These leaders are about high performance and they have zero interest in, or tolerance for, internal drama or politics. They operate at a high level of personal integrity, authenticity and ownership. And they expect and demand the same from people around them.

They make it difficult – if not impossible – for people to get away with doing the things that undermine and weaken the organization: point fingers, adopt a victim mentality, indulge in destructive politics, and “CYA” (cover-your-ass) behaviors that distract from the goals of the organization.

Even if these behaviors are very subtle, they drain energy and waste everyone’s time. Eventually, people begin to feel that they cannot make a difference, and the organization loses focus and cannot achieve the results it seeks. In today’s environment of growing competition and limited resources, what company can afford this?

Any manager can do this – break these undermining patterns, reverse past damage and create a high performance team dynamic – if they are willing to be a courageous leader, role model this behavior, and call his or her people to account for it too. They need to stand for a new code of rigorous honesty, refusing to settle for less than the truth in an environment where people are used to only voicing what they think their leaders want to hear.

No matter which method they use, leaders must make their unconditional commitment to honesty known, and they must convince their people that they mean it. It’s not enough to declare it. They need to demonstrate through action that they are genuinely open to feedback, criticism and input, including about themselves. As one of my clients once admitted: “It takes 10 rights to fix 1 wrong, and 1 wrong to undermine 10 rights.”

This leadership philosophy of open, honest, authentic and courageous communication can be messy, lonely and painful at times. However, time and again, I have seen it lead to significant transformations inside organizations. In fact, clients have repeatedly shared with me that creating a new level of communication at work has even made them a better person in their personal life, changing the way they relate to their children and their spouses. One CEO even told me, “It saved my marriage.”

I am not a marriage counselor, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But one thing I do know is that when organizations have the courage to face the truth every day, a powerful platform of authentic team ownership, commitment and accountability emerges. The team is then equipped and energized to focus on any challenge or opportunity that lies ahead, no matter how unfamiliar, complex, or difficult it may be. In short, the team becomes unstoppable.