According to research, organizational change happens more often than expected. In fact, recent data states that 2 out of 3 organizations must change a minimum of four times every five years. But while organizational changes are common, they are not always easy.
Poorly implemented adjustments when introduced to a shaky team did will not keep them relevant or future-proof. On the flip side, when done well, organizational changes can usher in a more sustainable, more proactive, and more well-rounded organization. The best way to achieve this is to enact an Agile leadership.
What’s Agile leadership?
This leadership style doesn’t just refer to leaders who are able to pivot and adapt quickly. In ZDNet’s article on management style, Agile leadership is described as a concept designed on Agile software development. This approach allows teams to respond in a timely and effective manner, with as few siloes and as little executive intervention as needed. As such, Agile champions a healthy marriage between employee autonomy and leader control.
During organizational change, Agile can fast-track the process while also empowering employees and creating healthier internal processes. Here’s how to do it:
Loop in all your teams
A guiding principle in Agile is to give employees the independence and recognition that they crave. As such, throughout the process of change, do remember to loop in every member regardless of department, rank, or status. The moment you start to put clearance levels on your communications, you immediately begin to fragment the opportunity for self-management. This, in the long run, will only prolong your organizational pivots. Given that we’re in the digital age, wherein up to 22% of all employees report working remotely, it’s crucial to extend Agile leadership to remote workers, too. To efficiently include your remote employees, take a cue from our ‘6 Tips to Providing Leadership in a Virtual Business World’, and be mindful of not addressing too much. Many leaders will think that micro managing is the best way to reduce error given the distance. However, an Agile leader knows that addressing fewer things will position you as a compassionate boss, while also encouraging remote workers to be more self-sufficient and engaged.
Address resistance with communication
Understandably, change will not always be smooth sailing. It’s normal to be met with some internal naysayers. With Agile leadership, you can address this not by ignoring doubters but by communicating with them. As explained in a Maryville University post on organizational change, having an open conversation that reiterates the purpose of the change and its benefits is highly effective. By doing so, it helps to encourage and enlighten wary employees. To ensure that they commit to this transition fully and happily, also tackle the personal improvements these changes will bring them. Agile leadership also underscores the need for teams to claim ownership of projects. There’s no better way for employees to be more dedicated to seeing change through than when they know their own brighter future lies in their hands.
Encourage an Agile mindset
Finally, keep in mind that organizational change isn’t just physical it’s also mental. Often, you may even find the biggest barriers to successful change are within the mindsets of your team. Thus, to overcome this challenge it’s helpful to employ a leadership style that similarly underscores the right mindset. In Shipra Nirola’s editorial about mindset, she explains that this approach helps give you and your team a more resilient and problem-solving perspective. By encouraging a mindset that is open, respectful, supportive, humble, honest, and responsive, your entire organization will be better motivated and strengthened, come what may. Nurturing this mindset may not happen overnight, and it may even take the most effort. However, by working on this consistently, you’re also building a healthier culture that withstands any more trials.
As they say, the only constant is change. When change inevitably comes to your organization, an Agile team will find that they’re not only staying afloat—they’re actually swimming with the tide. Agile leadership and organizational change may not be needed immediately for your company, but the sooner you’re familiar with both, the sooner you can prepare for a more sustainable and growth-focused organization.
Written by Alicia Kelly - Special Guest Blogger
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