20 Leadership Tips for Change Managers

Change is challenging and rewarding work. We’ve collected these 20 leadership tips for change managers, so you can get better results from your next change initiative.

Technically speaking, change managers aren’t change leaders.

But we all know that the real world isn’t so cut and dry.

Sometimes change managers must wear a few hats, lead change, and drive success.

Regardless of your job title, these leadership tips will help your next change program run more smoothly and get better results.

Top 20 Leadership Tips for Change Managers

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Communicate Clearly

Clear communication is essential.

On the one hand, it ensures that everyone understands the vision for change.

On the other, it removes barriers between you and the staff – preventing feelings of alienation and besiegement.

2. Lead from the Ground

In the same vein, hands-on involvement helps your staff feel like they are part of the change.

Lead by example, rather than from behind a keyboard, podium, or screen.

3. Be Creative and Invite Innovation

Innovative thinking is essential in today’s workplace.

Not just in product development, but also inside the organization itself.

But don’t go it alone – invite creative solutions from everyone. This approach will give you a wider idea pool to draw on. It will also reduce resistance and boost participation.

4. Make It Fun

Boredom is a killer.

Gallup found that 87% of employees worldwide are disengaged at work.

And Udemy found that bored employees are 2.5 times more likely to quit.

Think of creative ways to engage employees, by highlighting personal benefits and gamifying your program.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Delegate

Another way to increase participation is through delegation.

It also makes your job easier, for the simple reason that you don’t have to do as much.

6. Be Passionate

A bored leader isn’t worth following.

Demonstrate passion, and communicate that through example.

As an old writing adage goes, “Show, don’t tell.”

7. Reward Early, Reward Often

Without rewards, motivation can plummet quickly.

After all, change is difficult and time-consuming. And people often resist change.

Rewards show progress, provide motivation, and increase morale.

8. Accountability Is Key

If all of your leadership tactics are positive, then there’s a good chance nothing will get done.

Balance is key.

Accountability – holding people accountable for results and goals – is essential to that end.

9. Gain Support from the Outset

Support from business leaders and ground-level workers is vital.

Without support, one cannot really call him or herself a leader, can they?

20. Be Persistent

Giving up should be a last resort.

Whether it comes to the change programs itself or individual interactions with staff, persist until you achieve your goals.

11. Be Humble

People cannot feel close to someone on a pedestal.

Step down from the podium, demonstrate your humanity, and be vulnerable.

Express empathy and listen.

This will boost empathy and support.

12. Develop Your Own EQ and IQ

As a leader or manager, EQ is essential.

However, so is IQ.

Balance these two – work on your soft skills and maintain a lifelong education in your discipline.

13. Don’t Overextend

Don’t bite off more than you can chew or promise goals you can’t achieve.

If anything, you want to overdeliver on your promises.

Overextension will produce the opposite result, cutting down on people’s confidence in you.

14. Stay Agile

Today’s economy is driven by innovation, technology, and change.

Create a plan for your change initiative, but be responsive.

Make allowances for change and even create processes for changes.

15. Invite Full Participation Beforehand

As mentioned above, participation reduces friction and resistance.

Communicate often about your plans, but don’t stop there.

Invite participation in decision-making before go-live. Regardless of how much weight you give this input, record feedback and use it to inform your decisions.

16. Optimize Your Program as You Go

Feedback, input, and analytics can tell you what needs fixing.

But don’t wait till the end – optimize as you go.

Doing so can increase your program’s results and provide valuable information for your next program.

17. Know When to Quit

Also, know what to cut.

Persistence is the hallmark of true achievers.

However, if you don’t quit when it’s the right time, you risk overextension.

18. Use Cutting-Edge Technology

Digitally mature organizations are more successful.

From project management solutions to change management software, you should be using every tool at your disposal.

It will enhance results, make your life easier, and increase your competitive advantage.

19. Enlist a Team of Champions

Change champions are delegated change leaders within departments or teams.

This cross-disciplinary team of “mini-leaders” will serve as examples to drive your change program forward.

20. Improve Yourself Continually

Kaizen is a way of thinking that’s based on continual improvement.

It was developed by Toyota, but then became adopted by organizations around the world.

Effective leaders stay competitive by continually improving themselves and their business endeavors.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.