Managing and Leading Change Effectively in Organizations

Organizations experience change due to factors that may be internal or external. While an organization can control internal factors, external factors are outside the control of an organization. However, change is inevitable in an organization and therefore all Organizations must put proper measures in place to ensure that change is embraced.

Organizational change is prompted by factors both internal and external to an organization. An example of an internal factor that may cause a change in an organization includes changes in management. This is especially the case when there is a need to replace the existing managers due to retirement transfer or promotion. However, each manager has a unique style of working in an organization and may, therefore, bring new ideas to an organization. This, therefore, results in the change of managerial relationships between the managers in an organization.  This may also spark an attitude change in the personnel within an organization.

Internal change in an organization may further be caused by changes in the operative personnel. The workforce profile is changing at an alarming rate. Organizations are replacing baby boomers with a new generation of workers who are more skilled and place a lot of emphasis on human values.  Internal change may also be prompted by the need to make up for the deficiencies in the structure of an organization. This may, therefore, result in the move by an organization to reduce the number of managers, ensure that there is better coordination, remove obstacles in organizational communication and ensure that there is uniformity in policy decisions.

Managing and Leading Change Effectively in  Organizations

Change may also be necessitated by factors that are external to an organization. An example of such factors includes political factors. Political factors within and outside a country’s borders could have a large impact on businesses.  The interference of government in businesses is common in most countries. In certain instances, governments come up with laws and regulations to govern the actions of businesses and in such cases, the businesses have no option but to comply with the rules and regulations that have been set by the government. Change is also caused by the market conditions organization. Market conditions are not static and therefore keep on changing. This, therefore, means that an organization must adapt to the changes in market conditions to meet the frequently changing needs, desires, and expectations of customers.  The cut-throat competition that exists between Organizations and between suppliers and manufacturers forces Organizations to change to the market requirements.  Apart from that, the market is flooded with new products on almost a daily basis which therefore forces Organizations to change their marketing strategies.

Technology is also an external force that forces organizations to change.  Technological changes result in a change in jobs at all levels of organizations. Technology prompts organizations to automate some manual and repetitive tasks which makes certain people in an organization obsolete unless they are retrained.  The spread of knowledge and education also speeds up the process of social change.  The increased drive for social equity has caused organizations to change their systems to conform to social standards. This, therefore, means that organizations that want to survive in the market must follow social norms in marketing, employment, and other policies.

The successful implementation of change in an organization requires competent leadership. Organizational change involves the process of driving an organization to the most desirable future state.  Therefore, for the change to happen successfully an organization must have visionary leadership with an innovative approach.  Therefore, visionary leadership of senior managers and leaders can increase the chances of organizational success in the process of change. Therefore, the vision and innovative approach of leaders have been termed the two most important characteristics in the process of change.   The main role of the leaders is to lead people and therefore if the leaders and the people do not know where an organization intends to go then the leadership will be termed to have failed.

Leaders are also supposed to motivate employees to adopt change. The path-goal theory makes it clear that leaders who succeed are those who make their employees motivated by defining and making the path of work clear to the employees through a clear vision of leaders. Leaders must appreciate employees and reward them for their good work. Such initiatives motivate employees to embrace change.  Leaders can also keep their teams motivated and flexible to realize the benefits of change as stated in the managerial grid theory.  Senior managers and leaders must, therefore, be concerned with customer demand production by focusing on the better management of teams through leadership styles. Senior leaders and managers must also be guided by the leadership styles theory to adopt the best leadership style in a time of change.  This, therefore, means that senior leaders and managers must adopt different ways to encourage employees to embrace change.

Resistance to change is caused by a myriad of factors.  One such reason is the fear of employees that they will lose their jobs. Change may result in downsizing or the creation of new jobs which may threaten the existence of employees.  Resistance also stems from poor communication and engagement which results in a lot of mistrust.  Employees always need to understand why there is a need for change which requires proper communication. Employees also resist change due to the fear of the unknown especially when they are caught off-guard with no knowledge of what may result from the change process. Resistance also results from poor timing especially when the Organizations choose the wrong medium and time to communicate the need for change.

To ensure that there is an effective change process, organizations should ensure that they overcome opposition. This is done by engaging the people who are opposed to change and making sure that their concerns are addressed. Employees are also given time to give their input, hence making them feel that they are part of the organization. Organizations then ensure that change is implemented in several stages as stated by Kurt Lewin’s 3-stage change theory. This is done by first preparing for the change. This is then followed by taking action on the change and making plans for managing the change process. The third stage includes supporting the change and making sure that it becomes part of the organization. Change is then communicated effectively using both formal and informal channels of communication to ensure that all the employees receive information on the change.

To ensure a change-capable future, an organization should ensure that the change initiative is widely communicated using both formal and informal channels.  Proper communication ensures that all employees receive the change information in some way. Using different communication channels such as email, intranets, face-to-face meetings, and so on to ensure that the message gets across the company.  This helps to explain the change, vision, and what needs to happen and why which assures a change-capable future.

In conclusion, Organizations that seek to introduce change must understand the process of change. they must understand the role that is played by leaders in change introduction and measures that can be put in place to avoid resistance. Moreover, the right steps must be followed to ensure that change is sustainable.

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