Leading change well depends on the heart of the leader.
As leaders, we have all seen organizational change efforts come and go — kicked off with great enthusiasm, only to see the excitement wane and the initiative replaced by another.
From my experience as a change consultant, I believe this happens because the most critical of all “success factors” needed for effective organizational change is the one most often overlooked, and that is the “heart of the leader.”
The “heart of the leader” can be best described by exploring beliefs of the heart that become barriers to change initiatives.
Consider these questions…
?Communication: How can open and honest communication exist when the leader fears rejection, needs to be liked or needs to be needed?
Trust: How will trust be fostered if the leader fears being hurt or has difficulty forgiving?
Teamwork: How is a culture of teamwork possible when the leader has difficulty delegating, perhaps believing they have to hold all things and people together, or carry every burden?
?Collaboration: How can a leader encourage others to collaborate in decision making and challenge the status quo, when they believe they have to be perfect, know it all, do it all, or when they fear losing control, position or power?
Accountability: How is a leader to model giving and receiving feedback on behaviors, as well as results, when they fear any weakness or inadequacy in themselves being exposed, and blame others rather than be accountable for mistakes?
It’s important to realize that behind the fears and beliefs of leaders described above, are lies that we all may believe about ourselves and about God:
Lies about ourselves:
I’m on my own.
I have to be strong. I can’t be weak.
I have to hold all things and people together.
I have to carry the burdens.
I have to be perfect.
I have to prove my worth through performance.
I’m not good enough.
I’m not wanted.
Lies about God:
He’s not there; he’s distant.
He expects me to be perfect, and I can’t live up to his expectations.
He wants me to figure it out on my own.
He’s just watching.
He doesn’t care about these workplace details.
He expects me to carry the burdens, and they are from him.
He’s disappointed in me.
He’s a taskmaster. The pressure is from him.
I refer to these lies as “strongholds,” meaning the old, false messages we received growing up from our families, schools and cultures that still control us today as leaders, instead of God’s truth and His Spirit.
We all have strongholds in our hearts, yet we are deluded into thinking that when we enter the workplace, be it ministry-related or not, that we check our hearts at the door, and somehow these strongholds don’t impact what we do there. Nothing could be further from the truth. They impact every thought, word, emotion, attitude and action both inside and outside the workplace.
As a leader, your heart is the critical success factor for effective organizational change. When you use these spiritual weapons of warfare, you increase Jesus’ reign over your heart, which will in turn, give him more reign in your change efforts as well!
Jeanne Nigro is a speaker, author and founder of Jeanne Nigro Ministries, whose relevant and practical teachings transform lives around the world. Prior to ministry, Jeanne worked in organizational change consulting for 17 years. This is an excerpt from her article in the 2015 Winter edition of Outcomes Magazine.
Register for the Outcomes Conference, April 19-21, 2016. Jeanne Nigro will be going much deeper on this topic in her presentation, Leading Change, The Heart of A Leader. You won’t want to miss this workshop – featured in the Executive Leadership track!