written by: Tara Duggan•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 4/28/2011
Leadership theories and organizational change strategies enable leaders to improve processes and profitability. Managers lead by establishing standards and setting a good example. They communicate a clear vision, set strategic goals and motivate employees to produce quality products and services.
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Successful leaders plan organizational change events carefully. Abrupt, unplanned events cause needless disruption and distraction. Whether changes impact the company as a whole or just a single department, effective communication and leadership ensures a smooth transition. Change occurs gradually or happens during a radical transformational. Effective leaders employ autocratic or democratic decision-making processes, depending on the situation.
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Communicating a Vision
By communicating a clear vision, asking for input and involving workers in long-term planning, effective leaders empower employees to pursue innovative solutions to complex problems. However, if leaders rely exclusively on their ability to give charismatic speeches, they typically find that employees lack details about what the changes mean for them. They usually find that they need to use transactional leadership skills as well to ensure that followers understand the company vision and can act on directives.
Effective leaders select the best techniques for the situation, based on their knowledge of leadership theories and organizational change strategies, to help them conduct productive interactive meetings, send email messages and employ other communication mechanisms that explain the need for change. They also explain what expertise is required to execute changes and provide details about the relevant decisions that have been made in order to bring about long-term gains. Successful leaders use participative management strategies to listen to employee input and address valid concerns.
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Transformational leaders inspire their followers to achieve strategic goals by clearly articulating a direction for the company. Effective leaders define what the company does, who its customers are and what the approaches are for achieving success. By analyzing the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, these leaders develop goals that help them beat the competition. By relying exclusively on their own expertise, leaders may fail to accurately interpret their company’s current capabilities, economic conditions or other environmental factors and find their ability to achieve desired success diminishes.
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Effective leaders support their personnel during organizational changes by providing adequate training and time to make the necessary adjustments. Whether the changes involve removing obsolete processes, shifting how tasks get accomplished, updating operating principles to new business conditions or restructuring the organization, these leaders realize they have to assess their subordinates. Through their knowledge of leadership theories and organizational change strategies, leaders make transitions a less stressful process for everyone.
Lassiez-faire leaders allow capable, motivated subordinates to make their own decisions. However, less experienced employees need more help and guidance. In large corporations, democratic leaders find themselves limited by their ability to provide personal support to each employee and include them in the decision-making process. By creating a comprehensive support network consisting of tools, tips and techniques for handling organizational change, even large companies can make radical changes without demoralizing the workforce.
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Effective leaders choose a leadership theory to follow contingent on the type of organizational change required. Identifying key performance indicators that enable leaders to monitor their progress toward achieving strategic organizational change tends to be a difficult and complex task. If the company makes significant changes in the way it conducts business, operational metrics should reflect measurably improved performance. For example, by conducting online follow-up surveys with consumers who describe their problem and rate their level of service, companies get the data necessary to monitor and track satisfaction. Transformational leaders can’t assume change occurs just because new policies have been instituted. Validation must occur and if results don’t reflect a positive impact, then appropriate remediation must occur to ensure effective organizational change occurs.
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References and Image Credit
Maxwell, John C.. The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998.