In our last article, we discussed Transformative Leadership and Change Realization. Now let’s discuss the importance for leaders to understand their own need to change first before an organization can change.
Leaders Need to Evolve in Order for the Organization to Follow Suit
A common theme that has emerged throughout my years of experience as a leadership expert is that creating change within an organization starts with leadership. Leaders first need to realize the need for change, not only within their organization but also within themselves for real transformative change to occur. Understand that current culture is tied to your own existing leadership style. That’s why the culture is what it is in the first place.
How and what you change will be dependent on an evaluation of your own personal strengths and weaknesses and those of your organization in order to stay competitive and maximize growth within your industry.
How you approach change will be very different if you are an existing leader in the organization compared to a new leader who has been hired to bring about change.
A leader’s realization of the need for change starts with leadership self-assessment and self-awareness. Change realization is the first major step in the change process and is a key factor for adoption internally.
Performing a Self-Assessment as a Leader
While identifying the need for change is important, taking actionable steps to make a change and evolve as a leader is what will really drive change internally and affect organizational culture. You cannot transform your organization if you first do not transform your own leadership style and methods.
Performing self-assessment as a leader is a valuable tool to identify and make changes that will stick. Self-assessment allows leaders take a look at their leadership skills and abilities and reflect upon the areas they need to improve or change. This change realization must be internalized first before it can be applied to the organization.
Start your leadership self-assessment by reflecting upon these questions:
Personal leadership qualities
- Are you self-aware? Do you have clarity of your own personal values and principles? Do you act in alignment with your stated values? Do you understand how they impact your behaviors and the way in which you approach leadership?
- What do you do for personal development? Do you actively engage in new learning opportunities? How do you apply what you learn to your role as a leader?
Direction and Vision
- Do you have a clear vision? What is it?
- Are you effective at identifying the key drivers of change? Do you anticipate potential roadblocks to adoption of proposed changes? What challenges do you foresee that will require change?
- How do you personally back up your vision? What actions do you take? Do you hold people accountable who are not aligned with your vision?
- How do you evaluate the impact of change?
Collaboration and working with others
- Do you respect others’ opinions, beliefs, and values?
- Do you actively engage with others to determine the direction of the organization? Do you take a collaborative approach to leading the organization? Do you have a leadership team?
- Are you an open and honest communicator?
- Do you encourage others to contribute? Are you a good listener? Are you willing to objectively listen to others’ thoughts and opinions? Are you open to changing your opinion based on new information?
- Do you seek out feedback from others? Do you act unilaterally?
- Are you skilled at conflict management?
- Do you clearly communicate your vision? How do you build internal support for your vision?
- Are you an effective planner? Do you incorporate feedback when developing plans? Do you assess the benefits and risks associated with your planned strategies?
- Do you efficiently manage and utilize the resources that are available?
- Are you good at managing people? Do you communicate a clear purpose, direction, and expectations of your leadership team and team members?
- How do you frame new strategic objectives?
- When developing strategies, do you engage with a wide range of stakeholders?
- How do you mitigate risk?
- Do you ensure that strategies are broken down into realistic and implementable plans that can be carried out by team members?
- How do you manage performance? Do you hold others accountable? How do you hold yourself accountable? What actions do you take to improve performance?
- Do you work with others to overcome barriers to adoption and challenges in implementing strategies?
Send me an email if you would like a copy of my Simple Leadership Self-assessment to help you identify where you have the opportunity to improve and grow.
Discuss these questions with a trusted colleague, coach, mentor, leadership consultant, or a key advisor in your organization. Use this information to develop an action plan that outlines your strengths, and more importantly, the areas where change is required for you to become a more effective leader. It is only when you make transformative changes as a leader that you can apply that knowledge to your organization and transform the way your organization does business.