Gaining a competitive edge in business today is a complicated thing. Many times leaders are too close to the situation to see that they are actually part of the problem that is blocking the ability to introduce a culture of change within their organization. I hear it time and time again “Why can’t I get my employees to change?” “What is blocking our corporate culture?” “Why does it feel as though I am ineffective as a leader?” “Why don’t they listen?”
It is a struggle that I hear from executive coaching clients. They sit atop their corporation’s leadership team and wonder why they are not effective initiating change within their organization. I know I am not the only leadership coach to see this issue, but sometimes I feel as though many executive coaches are not sure how to address the real problem. When I am faced with these types of questions, I generally pose another question to the leader? “What do you need to change within yourself?”
Mahatma Gandhi was once quoted to say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is a quote that cuts to the core of the problem. Many times the reason an organization is unable to successfully change is because leadership does not recognize that the change they are seeking really comes down to one solution. In order to be an effective leader, a bit of soul searching might be required as the leader takes responsibility for what they can change personally. This does not include how they can change other people, but rather, what changes are required of them.
The most effective leaders believe that organizational change starts with them. They hold the sole responsibility to not only introduce proposed changes, but also demonstrate change. This means they look to their own faults and limitations first and work on those before they ask other to change their shortcomings. They take the time to recognize the behaviors within themselves that create tension or block efficacy and work to change those first.
This type of transformational leadership not only allows the leader to open up pathways to their own success, it also creates an open and empathetic corporate culture. Leaders who are not afraid to admit their faults and take noticeable steps to correct these behaviors demonstrate to employees that everyone makes mistakes, and that they have the power to overcome these shortcomings by recognizing their responsibilities within the issue.
While admitting fault is difficult, identifying these weaknesses is often even more taxing. As a leadership coach, I find that working one-on-one with my clients in a setting away from their role as leader can be very beneficial. Sometimes this is in the form of an intensive one-on-one retreat setting where I work with executives to create custom designed coaching sessions to help them meet their specific leadership coaching goals, while other times, group coaching sessions with several like minded individuals on their team is more helpful.
No matter what type of approach the leader takes in identifying their faults and addressing them, coaching sessions often prove to be transformational as leaders work towards developing a culture of empathy, open communication and authentic leadership within their organizations.
Would you like more information about a leader’s role in organizational change? Feel free to contact our team at the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP.