Leadership is Not About Change

Why do so many new leaders want to rock the boat, make changes when change is not warranted?
Why do so many new leaders want to rock the boat, make changes when change is not warranted?
Why do so many new leaders want to rock the boat, make changes when change is not warranted?

“Leadership is not about change but newly minted leaders always want to make change even when change is not warranted.” So says a wise relative of mine (WROM).


This WROM emailed me recently with a link to an article about the future of the Republican Party (https://goo.gl/oSL2Qv).  Titled ‘The Post-Trump Era’, it provides a good outline of the potential next phases of the GOP as they most probably enter a very difficult phase of their leadership and direction.


change3This article prompted the WROM to think about and write to me about leadership and change. He wrote “Leadership and change management often go hand-in-hand. However, leadership is not about change. It is just as difficult to lead (or take over the leadership of) a successful organization as it is to make an unsuccessful organization successful. Newly minted leaders always want to initiate change even when change is not warranted. Those newly minted leaders would be well advised to focus on routing out this kind of malaise and ensuring that it does not take hold as opposed to making changes for the sake of change.”


When I facilitate my one-day workshop called “From a Good Manager to a Great Leader”, I am sure to point out that leaders and leadership styles are not all cut from the same cloth and not all well designed for the same environments. Walking into a well run, smooth sailing organization is very different than walking into a place that is in the throws of change or needs to be introduced to and guided through change.


So why do so many new leaders want to rock the boat, make changes when change is not warranted?   Excitement? The challenge?  Ego?  I suggest all three could very well play a role here.  Leadership training prepares us for the worst: difficult decisions, tough customers, hard to deal with employees or stakeholders and more.  So with all of this training, it must be natural for us to want to employ our new arsenal.


But, as the WROM suggests, new leaders should avoid this mistake.  Change for change sake is dangerous and risky and for most people, not very much fun.   The truth is, many organizations out there are doing very well. They do not need to be reorganized, or buy the competitor, or expand to a new market.  Steady, strong, responsive, responsible, and even ‘nice’ are all good things to be known for.


If you are hired to implement change, you have a big challenge ahead of you and hopefully you are well prepared. If you are hired to take the reigns of a well-oiled machine, you also have your work cut out for you.  Many are relying on you to continue to guide the ship as it has been guided and run in the past.  Do not take this task lightly.


The Republican Party?  It appears that it may need a re-build.  It won’t be smooth and the leaders will need to be ready.  In this case, all of the leadership skills, knowledge and experience they can muster will be required.  Change, it is a coming.


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