Most people dread change because it often brings unknowns. One unknown is wondering, how will this affect me? Change unsettles individuals and teams, yet change is necessary to lead well.
Whether you’re leading an entire organization through change or coaching a staff person through a transition, leading through change is one of the most important tasks you’ll do as a leader.
In leading through various seasons of change I’ve found a five-step process to be beneficial. I encourage you to consider the 5 steps to lead change and build trust.
5 Steps for Leading Change
1. Listen Well
When change is imminent, we can be tempted to either operate in denial until we’re forced to make a change or we rush to get it over with as soon as possible. Either extreme robs you of the opportunity to listen well. When you need to lead through change, take time to listen. Listen for lessons from history. Listen to fears and concerns. Listen for the reason behind emotions.
2. Question Thoroughly
After you’ve listened well, begin to ask questions—lots of them. Particularly if you’re leading change through an issue that is new to you. Whether you’ve recently joined an organization or it’s a project that you weren’t intimately involved with asking questions is important. It will help you uncover valuable information about sensitivities, key players, historical nuances, etc. Questions will help you better understand the landscape and make more thoughtful decisions.
3. Evaluate Rigorously
Change is challenging. It’s tempting to make snap judgments or jump to quick fixes. Take the time and mental energy to evaluate the situation from all angles before hurrying to a decision. As part of your evaluating process, seek wise counsel from others who have either led through something similar or who can add a helpful perspective.
4. Decide Prayerfully
Once you’ve listened, questioned, and evaluated it’s time to decide what to change and how to lead through it. Consider everything you’ve gleaned in the process so far and prayerfully decide how to move forward.
5. Direct Confidently
Finally, you need to provide a strong, clear, and confident path for change. Your confidence is drawn from the intentional process you’ve followed and the prayerful decision you’ve sought. Now you must direct change with the strength of vision and decisive action.
Lead Change and Build Trust
Leading change is not easy, nor should it be taken lightly. Change is emotional and stressful. But this is exactly why you are in a position of leadership – to help set the course and lead others in the direction God is calling you.
Taking the time to listen, question, and evaluate before you lead change honors those you’re leading. It also equips you to be an aware and sensitive leader who earns trust and builds courage for everyone involved.
Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
P.s. Our podcast got an update! A new name with the same mission and content!