The dramatically evolving digital age with the influx of advanced technologies have changed the way businesses operate and interact with their customers across the globe. Economic volatility, market dynamism and cultural diversity demand organizations to stay agile and ever-ready for introducing product development, profit areas and enhanced capabilities. Companies that fail to change, fail to grow and ultimately fail to sustain and live up to customer expectations. In a top-down inspired workplace, departmental silos and hierarchical structures often lead to increased dependencies, delays in decision-making, missed opportunities, team-wide confusions and employee identity crisis.
Why does a leader need to be a change agent?
Managing changes within an organization is no longer a momentary situation or a temporary condition wherein employees can be told that this too shall pass. Rather, change in any form needs to be positively embraced as a part of corporate culture. Apart from driving operational efficiencies, cost effectiveness and process enhancements, change management plays a much bigger role in the business fabric.
‘Change’ should be treated as an interwoven element of the business strategy at large. A leader in this regard needs to ensure that the identified, introduced and implemented changes are making a positive difference at all levels regardless of the organizational hierarchies, ranks or silos. A leader who is also a change agent believes in getting the right things done through the right people at the right time without creating any added hassles.
A change-driven leader would require to be proactive, pragmatic, passionate and productive. Most importantly, he/she should be a people’s person with the capability of communicating clearly and concisely. Desperate times often call for desperate measures and who else can lead through these ups and downs except for a leader who is also a change agent. A good leader must ensure organizational readiness to changes, transformation and evolution. At the same time, a successful leader who claims to be a change agent ensures to reinvent his/her own capabilities to prove the relevance to their evolved roles and responsibilities. They lead through examples that they set for themselves.
Traits of popular leaders who are also change agents
An effective change agent thinks beyond just the team achievements; he/she wants the company along with all its employees to grow, which requires high levels of willingness, dedication, accountability and action. They should always be ready to explore better ideas, renew their thoughts, reinvent ways of work that can make maximum impact and influence at the earliest. Hence, change-leaders need to have:
Diversified areas of knowledge: Change agents are interested in more than their own field. They grow innate curiosity for other industries and work areas and they never believe in getting stuck in their own comfort zone. They keep digging information, reading and interacting with people from varied industries to gain as much knowledge and valuable insights they can to keep growing and spotting new scopes of improvement and business growth.
Knack towards flexibility: Leaders who are change agents always reinvent themselves and their capabilities. They welcome changes in their personal and professional lives and are always open to new opportunities and learnings with a totally entrepreneurial attitude. They keep improving their creative instincts along with their logical thinking. They welcome flexibility, versatility and peculiarities. They have a great knack for connecting with people while having a deeper understanding about their experiences, behaviours and perspectives.
Results-driven work approach: A leader effectuating change management ensures to work with a focus at their pre-decided and planned professional goals and business objectives. They prioritize their works according to urgencies, profitability and business requirements and ensure that each and every activity is measured against the results they achieve. A leader determines what the company should expect, how it should operate and interact to gain what it truly needs.
Great oratory and listening skills: A change-driven leader has a gift of gab, which renders him/her wonderful oratory or public speaking skills, which helps them to express their thoughts precisely and tactfully. However, the most desirable skill that still makes maximum impact on people is their ability to listen without interruptions and judgements. A successful change agent/leader is expected to explore peoples’ perspectives while looking for a solution, and this helps them develop stronger relationships and trust factors with the employees.
Strong and wide network: A change agent leader knows the value of building amicable relationships with people from different walks of life. It doesn’t only allow them to broaden their thinking horizon but also helps them build a strong web of network with acquaintances and connections who can be reached out to when required to meet any business purpose. A strong network always means that the leader has more than enough experts to consult a specific topic, subject or industry.
Most importantly, a leader who is a change agent shows sufficient courage to choose the less trodden path, in order to discover new ideas, business areas and benefits for the company’s betterment. Great leaders who love embracing change never fail to prove their credibility as they are always driven by measurable results. They prove their trustworthiness to the decision-makers as well as to the employees and subordinates.