Organizational change isn’t a short-term initiative. It’s not for the faint of heart and it takes several factors to align in order to achieve the task ahead. Leadership and accountability are essential for genuine change to even have a shot at being successful. Without it, discouragement, frustration, and fatigue are imminent.
Before taking on organizational change of any kind, it’s necessary to have leadership fundamentals conquered and accountability protocols in place. Where to begin? Any physical change requires mental adaptability, which is why there has to be buy-in from the beginning to work together as a team. In order to accomplish accountability as a group, you’ll have to master these leadership skills individually first.
Willingness to Change
There is a difference between wanting to change and a willingness to change. Although they are similar, one is passive and one is active. The want makes no difference if the action doesn’t follow. Your team will look to you for proof of this change. Talking about change initiatives without any follow through can have a negative effect. It creates a lack of trust and confidence throughout a company, which causes extra challenges along the way. Be willing to change and then, put in the work to create examples to show your team.
Courage to Take Ownership
Another mental readiness skill is professional courage. This takes form in several ways. It means being accountable and self-aware. It could be acknowledging areas that require improvement. It might mean taking on more work in the beginning to set the foundation for an initiative or process that becomes sustainable. It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable and find the courage to overcome obstacles. The goal is to build a culture where individuals and teams feel ownership at all levels.
Clear Direction and Communication
Providing clear direction and communication are ongoing skills that require dedicated attention. It’s not only how you communicate messages to your teams. It’s also important to understand how your team communicates as well. For example, if you are a visual learner and deliver a presentation full of graphs and charts showing revenue, KPIs, and other metrics, it may not fully translate to a verbal learner who needs extra context. Ask for, and invite follow-up questions to ensure the plan makes sense to all and everyone is clear on the direction.
Effective communication goes hand-in-hand with results-driven messaging. If you are unclear in the original message and vision of your company, it’s likely you’ll get different answers when sharing your company message with others. Soon you’ll realize people are following different paths that do not lead to your desired goal. Comprehension and a profound understanding of what organizational change requires will help to drive results. If employees don’t understand the “why” of the task or don’t feel value from what you’re saying, it’s harder for it take shape and deliver results.
Training for Skills
As you attach milestones for your company’s organizational goals, you’ll uncover gaps and areas where employees may need additional training. This may include tactical learning and hands-on application of certain services or processes. However, in some cases, it might mean leadership and communication training. Leadership development can drive profitability for your organization. Identify where your team’s strengths and weaknesses lie and prioritize which need the most attention.
Respectful Conflict Resolution
Change is never easy, especially as a company-wide initiative. The majority of organizations fail when trying to implement a switch in leadership or a call for improved accountability. Many of the challenges can be traced back to unhealthy conflict resolution. Do your employees know how to respectfully disagree?
Many people aren’t trained in conflict resolution and avoid conflict at all costs. While it’s not the most fun part of the job, it’s necessary in order to move forward. Address the conflict and talk through resolutions a team. Speak and listen with respect and remind each other of the common goal. Sometimes conflict is fueled by passion, which isn’t always a bad thing. It could just be that it needs redirecting.
When you begin to master these leadership accountability skills individually, it allows you to focus on what can be done collectively. It requires commitment, perseverance, and a strong belief that, as a leader, great opportunities come with an even greater responsibility. There is a higher standard required that separates those who say they want to be a leader and those who actually are.