As a leader of a business, one of the most challenging things you will have to deal with is heading up and leading change. The key to effectively managing change is to find the right way to communicate to the business, your internal team, and external stakeholders. The first rule of effectively leading change is to be comfortable yourself with the changes you wish to implement. To encourage others to support the changes and take the necessary action to make them happen, you need to be able to communicate the benefits of these changes positively and impactfully. Below we’ve detailed some of the behaviours that leaders adopt when challenged about the change they’re trying to implement. 

Understand people’s reactions

Generally speaking, there are usually four different types of response people demonstrate when faced with change. As a leader, it’s your job to spot these different behaviours, so that you know how to manage them and ensure the changes you’re implementing are successful, even when you are challenged.

The first response is ‘the neutral bystander’; this group is generally made up of people who want to wait and see the nature of the change as it is rolled out and what impact it will actually have on them individually. They feel neutral towards the change, so won’t actively support it, but won’t make attempts to block it either. As a leader, it’s best to respond patiently to this group, respecting that the ‘proof will be in the pudding’ so to speak.

The next group is ‘the critic’ who are people who actively oppose all change. You won’t necessarily hear critics being vocal about their opposition, but be aware of their attempts to sway other’s opinions in more covert ways. As a leader, you need to be able to identify critics early on in your change process, if you want to succeed in implementing the changes you seek.

The next group is ‘the victim’; these people view your announcement of change as a direct attack on them personally, their job role or their area of responsibility. They will respond to your suggestion of change, at a personal level, considering and reacting to exactly how your changes will impact them personally and in detail. As a leader it’s crucial you listen to this group of people, and demonstrate empathetic behaviour to reassure people that this is a business based, holistic decision and in no way reflective purely of the individual.

The last group is ‘the advocate’ who will be your biggest ally in implementing successful change. This group will not only support but advocate for your change, and can be used effectively throughout the business to motivate and inspire others to work towards the changes you’re seeking to implement. These people are leaders in their own rights, and as the leader of the business adopting positive behaviours, including a receptiveness to those who aren’t so comfortable with change is a key way to ensure your changes are successful.

As the person seeking to lead and implement change, understanding the likely behaviours of these people will arm you with the tools manage any negative responses to the change you wish to implement. This means you can proactively create solutions to challenges people may raise, even before they have done. This will increase the credibility and the importance of the changes you’re making. For more support and advice on how to effectively lead change within your business, contact Anthony Gregg Partnership today.