The lastest online edition of Leading Effectively from the Center for Creative Leadership includes an article entitled, 4 Responses To Change - And Why You Need To Know Them. I'd recommend the article for you to read in its entirety. It offers a person in leadership a bird's eye view of how people that you work with might respond to the changes they face. Of course, some responses are easier to lead from then others.
Here's a brief summary:
- The entrenched. Denial and/or "action frenzy" are the initial responses of people who are entrenched.
- The overwhelmed. Someone who is overwhelmed usually exhibits withdrawal and immobilization. People in this group often report feeling depressed and powerless.
- The poser. False bravado is the initial reaction of the poser.
- The learner. Learners feel challenged and stretched, but in control of their destinies.
As you can see, we would all love to lead organizations that are full of learners. But that's not the case. In fact, CCL's Kerry Bunker who has written extensively about these responses states that as many as 60% of people in your organization may be in the entrenched and overwhelmed group when faced with certain change.
As a student leader, whenever you attempt to implement a new program, a new event, or even try to change an existing tradition - people see it as change. Knowing how to lead through these various responses will help to increase the level of influence you have with others.
- For the entrenched, you need to help them see the value of the change and improvement every single step along the way. Every little change they experience is difficult. Walk with them hand in hand.
- For the overwhelmed, you need to watch out for their contagious negativity. Help them see the positive and the hope that will come with the different future than they expected.
- For the poser, you need to help them be more realistic. They also need to to move in small steps so that their false confidence can be replaced with real confidence.
- For the learner, use them as examples and models for the others. When you add other voices to the discussion it will increase the influence you have over those who are hesitant.
One thing is always certain during times of change - people will push back. You must expect it. It's one of the main reasons that leadership is necessary. Use your leadership influence to help move others along together. Don't let the learners get too far ahead of the rest. Don't allow the entrenched to hold everyone else back.
Want to apply this idea to your current situation?
Step #1: Think about the next new event or idea that you and your team are trying to implement. Who are the people who reside in each of the categories?
- Entrenched: They don't like the idea. They don't want to do it any differently than it's been done before.
- Overwhelmed: They don't have any energy to help. They are negative and always have a reason why it won't work.
- Poser: Very excited about the idea at first but never available to help or follow through on assignments.
- Learner: The ones that you can count on in implementing this event or idea.
Step #2: Now that you know the names, how can you begin to convert the entrenched, overwhelmed, and posers into learners?
Step #3: Take your leadership team through this exercise and come up with some good ideas to help all four groups navigate through this change.
What other ideas can you come up with for dealing with these different types of responses? Leave your ideas in the comments below.
Now that you know