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Top Change Management Skills
It’s important for every leader to familiarize themselves with the concept of change management. Your knowledge of change management skills can help the people in your organization navigate through transitional periods with confidence. Workers often feel challenged when organizations incorporate new technologies, transform their internal structures, and adopt new policies.
Change management for organizations is key to leading successful transitions.
Above all, change management is concerned with the human side of organizational change. Resistance to any type of change process is a normal human behavior. That’s why the best change leaders develop a skill set that helps them support others as they adapt to new roles, new responsibilities, culture changes in the workplace, and other initiatives for managing change.
These skills are crucial to empowering workers and creating a thriving work environment. Read on for a quick overview of the top change management skills for leaders.
The most essential skill of any good change agent or leader is an effective communication skill1. Having an open dialogue with your team about any change initiative that’s occurring allows you to develop bonds of trust. You want to create an organizational culture where everyone on your team feels like they have a voice and that their input is valued3. If you are an approachable leader, then team members will feel unafraid to raise concerns and ask questions about the organizational development of the company. This will help the whole organization resolve problems more efficiently.
When your organizational structure is going through a period of change, good communication will help everyone clearly understand their role in the transition. Also, every team member will know how the organization’s new direction will lead to long-term benefits.
Just remember that good communication involves both speaking and listening1. By engaging others and responding thoughtfully when they ask you questions, you show genuine interest in them1. Everyone wants to feel heard and respected1. Demonstrating that basic level of respect can go a long way toward inspiring trust and passion among your team1. That trust and passion will be necessary when the organization experiences any type of major change.
Integration and Delegation
Great leaders get everyone involved. Integration and delegation are two of the best ways to make sure your whole team can contribute to positive change outcomes.
Leadership isn’t about shouldering all of the responsibility yourself. Instead, invite all members of the team to share their ideas. Hold regular open meetings where every voice is welcome. No one should feel left out of the process.
Whether they’re a manager or another team member, everyone in the organization has a unique perspective, background, and skill set. An effective change leader knows how to maximize the team’s potential by leveraging each team member’s particular expertise.
Delegation means sharing responsibility and authority among individuals in your organization. It’s important for leaders to take an active part in organizational change, but you can’t lead every step of every project. You have to understand your limits, and know when to empower other people to lead.
Effective delegation is more than just telling other people what to do. To make the most out of your opportunity to delegate, use the following tips:
- Choose the right person – Easier said than done, finding the right person to lead each project is vital to the team’s success. It’s important to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can assign team members fitting roles4. For example, someone who doesn’t typically work with others probably isn’t right for coaching lots of workers through new tasks.
- Explain your choice – There are two reasons why explaining your choice to delegate is beneficial4. First, you want to make sure your colleagues and other employees understand that you selected them for a specific reason4. This shows that you value their skills and experience4. Second, you can demonstrate that you’re not just giving people work that you don’t want to do4. Instead, you can present delegating as an opportunity for professional development4.
- Share authority – If you give someone more responsibility within the team, but don’t give them the proper authority to make decisions, you could end up having to do more work4. Make sure you clearly outline the level of authority you’re sharing with someone. Can they assign tasks to others? Can they approve or reject the work of other team members? It’s important that the whole team knows the answer to questions like these.
A successful change management process requires good, strategic leadership. Successful change leaders may work on developing change management strategies for the organizational structure and its transformational change. They must be adept at using external resources and incorporate them in any change initiative. A change manager helps oversee the organization's performance, so that it stays ahead and seizes opportune moments. Maintaining a healthy balance between minimizing employee resistance while fostering their understanding and appreciation of the change is key in effective change management strategy.
Resilience is an umbrella term that describes a few different skills, such as:
- Dealing with setbacks
- Creative problem-solving
- Conflict resolution
Overall, a resilient leader faces challenges head on by managing expectations and developing data-driven solutions2. Keeping your emotions in check is key to being a resilient leader. Managing people is hard work3. It becomes even harder when your organization is in a period of transition. No matter the circumstance, people rally behind strong leaders who don’t fold under pressure1.
Often overlooked, having a positive attitude despite the transformational change can help keep the team’s stress level low and workplace satisfaction high. A happy team is a productive team!
More Change Management Resources
These change management skills can point you in the right direction, but leadership can’t be perfected in a day. It takes time and experience. Most of all, it takes education. Great leaders and change management professionals know that they don’t know everything3.
To learn more about the critical skills for leading change, Alliant International University can help. With diverse programs in psychology and business leadership, Alliant sets up students for professional success.
Alliant offers undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees, as well as professional certificates. Take advantage of both in-person and virtual learning opportunities, flexible scheduling, and classes taught by skilled faculty that deal with real-world applications.
- Adam Enfroy, "11 Leadership Qualities: A List of Skills to Make a Good Leader," Adam Enfroy, April 9, 2021. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.adamenfroy.com/leadership-qualities
- Indeed Editorial Team, "Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples," Indeed Career Guide, November 3, 2021. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/leadership-skills
- InCorp Team, "41 Tips on How to Become a Better Leader," InCorp Global, November 29, 2018. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.incorp.asia/blog/41-tips-on-how-to-become-a-better-leader/
- Genevieve Conti, "How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (and Why It's Important)," Focus, November 12, 2021. Accessed on November 19, 2021.