What is it about inspirational leaders that makes them so different? Effective leaders equip their people with the skills they need to thrive through change. And they drive business transformation – empowering their teams to embrace, rather than simply accept it. According to global consultancy McKinsey & Company, change attempts often don’t stick and show little evidence of progress. Indeed, up to 70% of such initiatives are said to fail. So how can individuals mobilise an entire workforce, and turn defensive into opportunistic, reactive into proactive?
In our own recent research within the automotive industry, we asked managers what skills they would like to develop to do their job better. Coping with change and acting more decisively were the lowest scoring skills. However, leading change scored much higher, at 42%.
This suggests that whilst line managers generally feel comfortable coping with change, they are less so in leading or stimulating it. Meanwhile, senior leaders in the industry consider that the ability to lead change is one of the top three leadership capabilities their businesses need now. So this skill is a vital one to develop for the future of the automotive sector.
According to Forbes, people who successfully lead change demonstrate a number of qualities:-
An understanding of makes people tick
The reason for making change is to get different results. To do this, you have to adapt behaviour. This is very hard. It’s even harder if you don’t know what drives your team’s current behaviour. A basic knowledge of psychology and encouraging your team to be self-aware is a good starting place to help people successfully adjust.
A willingness be uncomfortable
Humans beings stick with what they know and what is comfortable. To break free from the norm, there needs to be a willingness to step outside of the comfort zone, to try new approaches to old problems. And for many, this will feel unnerving at first. Accepting this is an essential step.
An ability to let go of what is holding you back
If you hold on to old thinking it can be hard to go for new opportunities. Releasing the deep-rooted ways can be challenging, but is an important step in the change process. Leaders need to create an environment where it is safe to fail, as their team try out new things.
Understanding what to retain
Some things, like values, shouldn’t alter. When change creates uncertainty, sound ethical principles will point people in the right direction. Successful leaders regularly rely on values to make difficult decisions driven by change and encourage individuals to reference their own set of values as well.
Finding a way
Effective leaders don’t complain about change, they just get on with it. A resilient attitude and a human approach helps senior management to reassure their teams when facing difficult or unwanted adjustments.
Looking again at our research, over 50% of those interviewed quoted the speed and complexity of growth as a core challenge. Self-driving and electric vehicles, car stores in shopping centres, changing customer attitudes to car buying, access to more data via the internet, new entrants to market such as Amazon, mergers of well-known vehicle brands – these are just some of the transformations taking place in the retail automotive sector today.
Change can be challenging, but for leaders and managers to successfully survive and thrive in the light of the developments outlined above, the skills of leading change will be critical to the industry’s future success.
Click here to download a copy of our research: https://www.gmdpeople.com/management-report/