It doesn’t matter if you are leading a small team or leading a major corporation. When it comes time for significant and widespread changes, the leader must be able to depend on the allegiance of a significant number of key people. These are people who are able to use their positive influence to support and drive the changes.
Sometimes, this is easily accomplished because the key people are willing and have the skill to play their part in creating and supporting the proposed changes. When this happens, the leader is able to involve them and delegate important tasks to them. They are a resource for problem solving and innovative ways of doing things.
Would be extremely rare to find an organization or business whose staff all met the criteria of having both the skill and the will. More often than not, the leader will encounter a degree of resistance from various quarters. As soon as this occurs, the leader has to work out why this is happening and what to do about it. For example, the leader may discover that these people are willing to help and willing to support the changes but don’t have the ability. The solution to the situation, could be training, on-the-job coaching or some sort of other support such as working closely with an experienced member of staff.
Those team members who are able to lend significant support to the leader and have the ability to do so, but unwilling to contribute pose a difficult problem. The leader has to embark on a program of convincing them. This will require all leaders skill in persuasion and influence. The leader can influence the team member by setting the right example. However, one of the most obvious is often overlooked. In this situation, the leader can logically and carefully point out the mutual benefits to be gained by such a change. The use of encouragement and negotiation are much more preferable than the limiting demanding or threatening.
If there are people in a crucial role who are neither willing nor able to support the leader, consideration must be made to either removing them or replacing them. This consideration should only be given after it has been decided that it is not worth investing time or money in training them or convincing them to look at the situation differently.
This may seem unduly harsh but progress cannot be made without the support of the key people in crucial roles. Too often, this option is ignored because the process is too difficult. But when you weigh it up, it is much better to go through the process of dismissal than to try and cope with necessary changes without the support of these people.
By Andrew Clapton