Blogi 15.9.2020

Are you managing change or nurturing leadership?

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Change management is the most important task of most managers. Lessons and learnings are available in books and courses. In spite of good design and planning, many changes remain half-finished or their desired outcomes are not fully reached. I argue that it is time to review anew the key success indicators in change management.

From a management perspective, planning of change emphasises timetables, budgets and distribution of work. However, from the point of view of human leadership, success is evaluated by leadership criteria. A drift towards the new can be made decisively on spreadsheets, but the stale end result is caused by personnel who resist change. This change of perspective along the process does not support success. Change is managed rationally, in spite of the fact that each of us experiences it emotionally.

Change is an emotional and hesitation is human

The critical questions of employees and their hesitation in the initial steps of change are often interpreted as resistance to change. However, the reason for hesitation is human. In the face of the new, we humans experience an emotional rollercoaster from enthusiasm to discouragement, be it in work or in our personal life. There is no need to wallow in uncertainty at the workplace, but it is worth spending some time and space to express emotions at work.

Change is grounded in confidence

Change is often complex and requires particular confidence. The task of senior management is to create encouragement and confidence even in an uncertain future. However, it does not happen at a single workshop. Trust is created at all levels of the organization and in everyday life when we walk the talk.

Disputes fuel movement

Trust also requires courage. From time to time, people may disagree, but this is allowed. There is no reason to fear different visions because friction also creates a dialogue. When employees engage in discussion and exchange views, there is a feeling of inclusion. Criticism is therefore allowed – and even desirable.

Leadership and hierarchical power diverge Leadership work is currently being reformulated: managerial work is being automated, outsourced, and transferred to bots and service centers. The power of decision-making is shared with the employees themselves. Many organisations wonder whether there is still a need for supervisors and management. We want to get rid of silos and heavy structures and increase self-guidance in the midst of everything we do.

Dialogue also promotes IT projects

Large-scale IT projects need more than agile project methods and project management. A common direction is needed. During digitalisation, interactional leadership aims to build mutual trust. It is about how people work together and define their mutual relationships.

Change leadership can be found in us all, but can we nurture it enough?

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Eeva Kiiskinen

Eeva works as Transformation Lead and specializes organisational design ja change management in Gofore. Eeva has over 15 years of experience from different professional positions in public sector, companies and universities. She completed her doctoral dissertation in 2017 from Tampere University of Technology.

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