Leadership can have a positive or negative influence on change, depending on the change methods used and their effectiveness within the organizational dynamic. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom characterizes leadership influence: “Strong and clear leadership is critical in inspiring people to make changes…”
Leaders must show employees that the change improves the organization and the employees’ ability to complete work in an efficient manner. It is certain that employees will meet any change with some level of resistance; leadership must plan for resistance.
Leaders should ensure that all employees understand the need and reason for the change. Fully address concerns to avoid problems. Identify work pattern changes that may cause employee confusion and disorientation. Educate and train employees on new systems; ensure they feel comfortable and can perform well.
Leaders should design a communication process that acknowledges change and the potential for employees to feel threatened or become fearful for their job. Communicate employee implications; ensure the staff understands the vision for the future and their role within the organization. Communicate every step of the change clearly and often.
Leaders can make employees active participants in the change by bringing employees into the decision making process. Allow employees to participate in solving potential problems.
Leaders should provide new skills training as needed. An organization's leadership should also review the organizational structure to ensure it aligns with the change.
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