Client login

Free Leader Guide: How to lead change in 2 skills

change leadership change skills Oct 23, 2022

Walk the talk

When leading change, someone IS always watching and evaluating.

Employees are trying to determine if the change is legit based on how leaders behave: Do actions match the words?

Trust is built when words and actions align. When leaders walk the talk.

Self-audit checklist for what to say to influence change

Every project has different details on 'why' and 'what', but effective leaders consistently use these techniques in messaging:

  • Optimistic. Hopeful about the future. Uses fear sparingly, except to acknowledge that staying here isn't an option. Acknowledges that uncertainty can be scary.
  • Other-oriented. The 'why' and benefits of the change are about others, not self-oriented. Those others might include employees or customers. Draws on shared values as a rationale for following this path.
  • Plain speak. Works diligently to keep jargon out of communications. Get rid of acronyms! Explain project terms in simple language outside project team meetings. Identify specific language that needs to be shared to support future state (ie, new common definitions to bring people to shared understanding).

Change-savvy leaders also listen more than they talk. They ask great questions and consistently gather feedback in order to adjust their own language. They work to connect personally and emotionally. This helps people move from thinking to doing:

  • How can I help?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • What do you see as the upsides of this change for you personally?
  • What feels like the next best step for you to learn more about this change?

Open dialogue on the tough topics sends the message: "We're not going to pretend that this is easy." That builds trust, so long as the feedback helps identify possible solutions and ways forward.

Actions speak louder than words 

Most leaders recognize the need to talk about the change. It is exceptional change leaders who understand actions are proof that change is legit. What that looks like in change-savvy leaders:

  • Making the project a priority. Adjusting meeting schedules to address project issues as they arise. Showing up and actively participating in Governance meetings. Responding within a reasonable timeframe to requests from the project team.
  • Getting peers and others involved. Is willing to take project topics to peers for feedback and resolution. Doesn't delegate to subordinates on tough, sensitive issues. Anticipates leadership stakeholder needs and acts as a conduit to bring peers along.
  • Asks the project team for risks and barriers that need leadership support. Doesn't wait to be told.

Change savvy leaders continually ask for ways they can do more:

  • How else can I show support for this change?

Leaders show the way.

Putting words + actions together

One of the most powerful ways that leaders can walk the talk is to share a misstep. People feel a connection with someone else who demonstrates they're human and imperfect.

A common opportunity to demonstrate this is when the project scope or timeline needs to be adjusted.

An overly ambitious scope+timeline usually comes at a high cost for people. These changes are actually fantastic opportunities to gain trust with stakeholders. It shows that leaders are making decisions consistent with their words that employee needs matter. 

The big presentations matter. But so do the small moments.

Leaders have daily opportunities to build credibility in change through their words and actions. Create consistency through intention.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.

Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.