Tips for Great Bosses are Tips for Great Change Agents

One thing I have found as a change agent consultant is that the passionate, motivated employees are often asking how to get engaged in the change we are implementing. This made me realize that, in some ways, the change team members are famous within the company: these are the people who have been tapped to lead the organization toward a new future world.

In addition to the corporate change you are creating, employees will be closely scrutinizing the change team to see if these individuals honestly understand the current world, if they are listening to employee feedback, and if they are truly creating a change that will make everyone’s lives better.

Jeff Haden’s Inc. article “How Great Bossess Motivate” therefore is also great advice for change agents:

1. Develop every employee. …Without great employees, no amount of focus on goals and targets will ever pay off. Employees can only achieve what they are capable of achieving, so it’s your job to help all your employees be more capable so they—and your business—can achieve more.

2. Deal with problems immediately. Nothing kills team morale more quickly than problems that don’t get addressed…  Small problems always fester and grow into bigger problems.

Never hope a problem will magically go away, or that someone else will deal with it. Deal with every issue head-on, no matter how small.

3. Rescue your worst employee. …Before you remove your weak link from the chain, put your full effort into trying to rescue that person instead. Say, “John, I know you’ve been struggling but I also know you’re trying. Let’s find ways together that can get you where you need to be.” Express confidence. Be reassuring. Most of all, tell him you’ll be there every step of the way.

4. Serve others, not yourself. …When employees excel, you and your business excel. When your team succeeds, you and your business succeed. When you rescue a struggling employee and they become remarkable, remember they should be congratulated, not you.

5. Always remember where you came from. …To some of your employees… you are at least slightly famous. You’re in charge. You’re the boss.

That’s why an employee who wants to talk about something that seems inconsequential may just want to spend a few moments with you.

When that happens, you have a choice. You can blow the employee off… or you can see the moment for its true importance: A chance to inspire, reassure, motivate, and even give someone hope for greater things in their life. The higher you rise the greater the impact you can make—and the greater your responsibility to make that impact.

When employees know how to contact the change team directly (through your continuous improvement feedback process), and see that you have thoughtfully developed the job aids and coaching they will need be successful, their fears will lessen and they will more readily adopt your change.  And who knows how far your stardom will take you after that!

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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