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Five ways to demonstrate leadership in times of change

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2020 has shown us that the ability to embrace change is one of the most important leadership skills of all, says Change Expert Campbell Macpherson. Here, he shares his tips

When things are uncertain, it’s natural for people to look to strong leaders for answers, guidance and best practice. So, if you want your team and your business to thrive during times of change, here’s what you need to do.

1. Give your people the power to change

The pandemic and the world’s reaction to it has understandably sent people’s anxiety levels through the roof. For the sake of their personal wellbeing and the success of your business, you need to help equip your workforce with the right skills, tools and attitude to be able to harness their emotions, embrace change and look for the opportunities. It is a priceless gift that all your people need and want.

2. Give them the clarity they crave

Your team needs to be crystal clear about what change looks like and why it is needed. This is the perfect time to revisit why your business exists, who it is set up to serve and how. Now, more than ever, your business and your workforce both need and deserve strategic clarity.

3. Emotion is four times more powerful than logic

The world’s response to the first lockdown demonstrated that we can embrace major and difficult change – as long as we have a clear and strong reason for doing so. Just telling everyone to stay at home wouldn’t have worked without the compelling emotional reason that we were also supporting health services. Logic is important, but emotion drives our commitment and behaviour.

4. Lead by example

The lockdown also demonstrated the importance of leading by example, with leaders of businesses and governments donning masks, shunning handshakes and switching to remote meetings over face-to-face get-togethers. It’s not enough to tell your team they need to do something – you have to demonstrate what doing it looks like.

5. Engage, engage, engage

Be transparent about uncertainties, involve your people in working out how to deliver the change and engage with them constantly. An absence of information will be filled by negativity. And people will only want to change if they are part of the process.

Campbell Macpherson is an international business adviser and the author of The Power to Change: How to Harness Change to Make it Work for You, published by Kogan Page

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