Leading Through Change



Death, taxes, and change. We can count on them. Whether we are initiating a change, or are caught in the ripples of a change, our lives are constantly in flux. Our natural tendencies (DISC/Driving Forces profile) describe how we tend to respond when faced with a change.

Many people perceive a change as a threat to their security so they naturally repel it.

Their opinion is: “If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Even if it is a little broken, we could create more problems if we change it.”

They tend to take a laid-back approach, appreciating a status quo that avoids the controversy and conflict change can create. This relaxed approach often shows itself as non-emotional, a misnomer since they truly experience emotions, but they don’t readily show them.

These change “Resisters” are often an essential voice of reason in an organization, a community, or a relationship when they simply ask “Why?” when faced with a change.

There are also many people that see change as exciting, and status quo as boring.

They would say, “Have any great things ever been discovered or created by settling for how things are? Think of all we could experience and learn by trying new things, by embracing change.”

This eagerness for change makes them flexible, restless, and sometimes impulsive. Their emotions are not hidden, and you can imagine that the “Embracers” are easily irritated by the Resisters constant “Why?” questions.

Leadership skill: Communicate effectively when discussing change.

Misunderstanding is rampant when Resisters and Embracers are discussing a change. Resisters tend to see Embracers as far too emotional to have credible ideas, while Embracers tend to see the Resisters’ non-emotion as not caring. Embracers tend to get more intense when trying to get everyone on board, while Resisters tend to give in to the pressure.

The most effective communication, and therefore, the most productive outcomes are reached when both the pros and cons of the change are examined.

The keys to effective change communication are:

  1. See each other as people, not single-dimensional objects on opposite sides of an issue. Develop personal, trusting relationships.
  2. Ratchet down the intensity of the conversation. Consider the volume, the tone. Take time to carefully explore “Why?”
  3. Check your ego. Effective communication is not about winning. It is about reaching the most productive outcomes.

Both Resisters and Embracers have much they can appreciate about each other. Resisters tend to be patient, logical thinkers, and have their focus on the success of the team. They don’t resist change simply to be obstinate; they truly see it as a risk. Embracers tend to be energetic and responsive, and their ability to see beyond the routine makes them a powerful change agent.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, leading when change is in the air?

I face the challenge of Resister vs. Embracer every day since I have been blessed with a husband who is a Resister of change, while I am an Embracer. I find it fascinating that I see the same challenges we face when I work with executive teams and when I read about political change throughout the world. Resisters tend to believe that change is risky and Embracers tend to believe that change has great potential. Are you a Resister or an Embracer? Leading well means that you take the steps to create the most effective communication, whether the change being considered is big or small, or being discussed in Congress, the boardroom, or the kitchen. Your ability to make a difference depends on it.

Posted on September 26, 2018 in Leadership

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