Important Characteristics of Change Leadership


During change initiatives or programmes, a critical determinant of success is the quality of leadership. So what are the characteristics of successful change leadership?

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The literature on the subject indicates that the nature of the change is secondary to the perceptions that employees have regarding the ability, competence, and credibility of senior and middle management.


In an organization where there is faith in the abilities of formal leaders, employees will look towards the leaders for a number of things. During change initiatives, employees will expect:


  • Regular, timely and honest communication

  • Sound rationale to be communicated that explains the basis for the change initiatives

  • Effective and sensible planning

  • Leadership that is supportive, concerned and committed to the welfare of staff

The goal of the above is to build a climate of trust.
If there is trust, there can be hope for the future, which helps employees accept the change easier.

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In organizations characterised by poor leadership, employees expect nothing positive. In a climate of distrust, employees learn that leaders will act in ways that do not seem to be in anyone's best interests. Poor leadership means an absence of hope.


The organisation must not only deal with the practical impact of the pain of difficult change, but more importantly, must struggle with the weight of employees who have given up, have no faith in the system, actively sabotage it.


Good leadership helps the organisation avoid the heavy toll of confusion, fear, loss of direction, reduced productivity, and lack of clarity about direction and mandate.


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