Leadership and Change Management Essay

Leadership and Change Management Essay

Leaders have a great responsibility to ensure that the most valued assets of an organization (employees) work together to achieve the goals and objectives set in the organization .Change management in an organization or company is important because it initiates changes that improve work and increase the productivity of the workers. Before a leader adopts a change management style, there is need to ensure that there is effective communication between workers, active participation of the workers and the support of the executives.

There are various change management styles or techniques that can be used by leaders to have all the relevant parties engaged in decision in supporting changes that are beneficial. Leaders should be able to equip employees with skills that are important to initiate as well as to manage changes that are experienced in an organization. Cote and Miners (Cote and Miners, 2006) states that a leader in a company should be able to develop effective ways of assisting teams or workers to move from the current state to the desired state .In addition, it is very important that leaders are able to identify changes that require a company to develop new programs to facilitate positive change. Change management influences the technological requirements, behavior patterns of workers and the work processes in a given company. Change management styles that are adopted by leaders such as managers in a company should be able to promote an environment at work which is fit for change.

Before adopting and implementing any change management programs, a leader should be able to understand the possible effects of the change on the people and to identify various ways through which resistance to the change can be addressed. Furthermore, although the decision to adopt a given change management style lays with the individuals at the senior level in a company, involving the employees in discussions can assist a leader to make sound decisions about the anticipated change. For example, changes in a company may involve employee lay offs, acquisitions or mergers. When a manager adopts a change management style, he or she should realize that different workers are likely to react differently to the change due to their varying needs .Therefore, preparations to deal with fears and to manage expectations in a realistic manner is very critical. A manager can adopt a change management style that is based on emotional intelligence. Bradberry and Greaves( Bradberry and Greaves,2005) points out that the term “emotional intelligence” refers to a person’s skills, ability or capacity to manage his/her emotions together with those of others. Leadership whereby a leader applies an emotional dimension is referred to as primal leadership. This implies that a manager in a company can introduce a change management style whereby the activities undertaken are able to resonate with the emotional reality of the workers. In this paper, how realistic it is for a leader to adopt a change management style that is based on emotional intelligence in a company will be discussed. Because the ability of the workers to carry out their duties appropriately depends on whether their emotions get out of control or not, leadership where a leader relies on the emotional intelligence of the workers can be effective in change management.

Discussion

A leader in a company such as a manager can adopt a change management style based on emotional intelligence if they have self awareness. Working in a busy environment demands that leaders understand their emotions and those of others. According to Bar-On (Bar-On, 1997), the ability to utilize one’s skills, abilities and knowledge at work defines his or her emotional intelligence. Change management requires a manager to assist workers to use their abilities, skills and knowledge to embrace changes at the work place. An effective management style should be able to bring change to both the management processes and individuals/workers. The transitioning of individuals during change management makes it necessary for a leader to change the mindset of the employees so that they embrace change. Sometimes workers may go through a period of confusion during the change process hence the creation of a new mindset marks the success of a change management style. Management processes require a leader and the workers to have self awareness. A change management style that is based on emotional intelligence demands that a manager acquires skills, ability and the knowledge to manage the emotions of the workers. In this case, leaders are able to understand clearly the effect of the workers’ emotions on their performance. By increasing the level of self awareness, a leader can be able to apply emotional intelligence to enable the workers to embrace change. A leader can be knowledgeable about the development opportunities and strengths that can be affected by emotions hence adopting a change management style that is based on emotional intelligence become realistic. An increased level of self awareness in a leader makes it possible for him or her to understand how the workers emotions can be used to influence their thoughts, decisions making and behavior. Self awareness in a leader allows a change management style to link leadership effectiveness with emotional intelligence. In addition, a leader develops emotional intelligence competences that can make it easy for the development and implementation of a change management style based on emotional intelligence. According to Brody (Brody, 2004), managers who have a high level of self awareness understand well the need to use the emotions and feelings of the workers to influence change. For example, one of the ways through which a leader can apply emotional intelligence in developing and implementing a change management style is by improving work relationships, eliminating negative perceptions and identifying areas that need to be changed .This is then followed by efforts to direct the workers skills and knowledge towards those areas. A change management style in this case will integrate effective employee development plans that use emotional intelligence competency. Furthermore, the plans for promoting change need to leverage strengths.

A leader can adopt a management style that relates to emotional intelligence when they are good in self management. Feldman-Barrett and Salovey (Feldman-Barrett and Salovey, 2002) assert that leaders should have skills and knowledge that enable them to manage their own emotions effectively. This in turn makes it easy for the leaders to manage the emotions of the junior workers. Self management in a leader also entails identifying the development opportunities and strengths that promote effective management. Leaders who have skills and knowledge on self management are able to motivate the workers during the process of change. The leaders influence change by motivation workers. Because change management involves dealing with setbacks and problems that relate to personal change, modifying the workers emotional response patterns becomes vital. Self management in a leader makes it realistic for him or she to use a management style that is based on emotional intelligence In addition, the ability of the leader to manage their own emotions and those of the workers encourages everyone to have a shared purpose in embracing change. For instance, by understanding emotions, a change management style that is adopted use emotional intelligence to have all employees or workers understand the need for change and then develop a common interest to initiate change. In effective change management, a leader is able to build an environment that aims at achieving the goals and objectives of the change being made. Some leaders who are good in self management understand that emotions can drive both creativity and innovation. Therefore, change management whereby the creativity and innovation of the workers or the whole company is required can be implemented by developing a style that relates to emotional intelligence. In addition, change management that demands that all employees set their goals to be in harmony with the necessary changes requires self management that relies on emotions. Smith et al (Smith et al, 2008) states that when leaders are able to manage their emotions effectively, they can train workers to develop self management skills. This becomes very instrumental for workers when managing their emotions during stressful situation that may result from the introduced change. A change management style that addresses emotional influences on work in such a case can be adopted and implemented without resulting to negative change. For example, workers who may find it difficult to change the way they do things may feel angry or disappointed when changes are introduced. To assist such workers, it becomes very important to use a change management style that helps workers to embrace change despite their negative feelings about the change.

The need to improve the employees’ work and professional lives by effectively managing their emotions goes hand in hand with a change management style that is based on emotional intelligence. A leader can initiate change by creating a development plan than can link the workers to both the personal and professional growth. For instance, a manager in a company can be able to understand and react to the emotions of workers during the change management process if he/she has emotional competence. Salovey and Grewal (Salovey and Grewal, 2005) supports the idea that emotional intelligence forms a wide range of skills and competencies that promote leadership performance. Because change management is very importance in improving leadership performance, a style that applies skills and competencies that relate to emotional intelligence can be very beneficial for transforming leadership.

According to Mayer et al (Mayer et al, 2008), when change is initiated in a company, feelings of uncertainty may be aroused in worker. To some workers changing their behavior and the way of doing things may become a challenge. Change can also result to a stressful situation or environment for workers. In order to bring certainty in such cases, a style that addresses the emotions of the workers will need to be adopted. Because the ability of one to work relies on the ability to control emotions, a change management style that aims at ensuring there is a good working environment despite the change must be able to make sure there is a balance in emotions. One way of ensuring this is by adopting a style that is based on emotional intelligence. For example, a manager can incorporate in the change management style forums through which the workers can speak out about the fears they have as a result of change. By doing this, the workers emotions are kept under control. This in turn ensures that instability that may result from lack of emotional control does not interfere with change. Mikolajczak (Mikolajczak et al, 2007) holds the opinion that the nature of a working environment affects emotions and this can have positive or negative effects on activities that are undertaken in a company during the change management processes.

Petrides et al (Petrides et al, 2007) points out that leaders can influence how workers feel while working .For instance, a leader who appreciates and treats workers in a just and fair manner makes the workers feel comfortable while working. Based on the emotional tone in workers that is influenced by how they are treated by the leaders, how much they are willing to give and sacrifice for a company to achieve its set goals is driven by the treatment they get from the leaders. The productivity of the workers results from the investment they make at work which is influenced by their emotions. Change management aims at making positive change and this demands that the workers become committed to high productivity despite any changes that may be introduced. To encourage workers to become hardworking and dedicated to change that improves productivity, addressing their emotions using a style that embraces emotional intelligence becomes necessary. The style of leadership that is used in a company determines the emotional climate in the company by 70 percent. The emotional climate then affects about 20-30 percent of business performance. When a leader wants to lead in a manner that promotes business performance and positive change, a change management style should be able to influence the emotional climate positively. Change management that promotes improved performance and productivity needs to determine how emotions in workers promote or act as a setback to change.

It is very important that a leader promotes a working environment whereby workers enjoy their work because when workers have a good time while working, introduction of change at work will be an opportunity for them to learn and to improve their skills. This opinion is also supported by Kluemper (Kluemper, 2008). A leader who inspires workers is able to encourage them to work towards achieving the set mission and goals. Consequently, for the workers to enjoy working and to accept change by considering it to be an opportunity for improvement, emotions in workers should promote positive attitude towards change. For example, workers are happier and interested in work when they are inspired and appreciated. However, sometimes workers may face some challenges at work and this demands that a leader build emotional capital. This may be characterized by seeking the workers’ opinion on what they would like for their life and career. This form of leadership can be seen when managers become more democratic and consensual. They listen to the opinion of others and then incorporate those opinions in management .Change management may require a leader to acknowledge the happiness, anger or interest shown by workers in relation to changes. Furthermore, listening to the opinion of others encourages the consideration of emotions in management. In such a case, if a leader would like to integrate democracy and discussions in a change management style, a style that is based on emotional intelligence can be very effective.

Introduction of change whereby leadership skills need to be improved may require the involvement of emotions. For example, some leader who may be old may lack the most modern and effective skills of leadership. The ability of a manager to develop new leadership skills in workers may be characterized by efforts to enable workers acknowledge the need to become transformed by embracing new styles of leadership. For example, having a personal assessment is important for workers because it assists one to identify areas that need to be improved hence if a leader or worker is not interested in change, engaging the person in one week training does not promote the necessary changes. Therefore, ensuring leaders get interested in change and accept new skills and leadership styles can be done by making them acknowledge the downside of style of leadership and a personal assessment. This can be done through an emotional competence inventory which assists one in evaluation. A company can develop such an inventory as a way of ensuring change in leadership.

Culture is very vital in leadership and change management. A culture that is developed in a company defines the behavior and the values that are upheld in the company .Change in culture require employees to change old habits and behavior and instead adopt new habits and values. Sometimes workers may find it difficult to leave their old habits for new ones and to deal with such cases, the change management style that is adopted must be able to deal with negative emotions that may be triggered by the change. For example, when there is a stressful situation, workers may be forced to go back to their old behavior, habits and values. Supporting workers at this time as well as motivating and encouraging them to sustain efforts to change will require change management whereby a leader influences change by triggering positive attitude and emotions. Organizational culture has become very important in the corporate world and many companies have their own unique culture which is created by the values that are upheld by the top management or core people in that organization. Changes in a company demand that the culture that may exist in a company for a long time to be transformed.

A leader who aims at making positive change in the company needs to adopt a style that promotes behavior and values that can create a culture which guarantees the company success. Changing the culture is motivated by preference and changing conditions in the market. Culture affects the style of management and decision making and this determines whether a company becomes successful or not. Because a culture becomes the foundation of a company, changes in the company interferes with values that have been integrated in management practices for a long time. High emotional intelligence promotes success hence change management style that will increase the productivity of the workers and increase success must be able to increase emotional intelligence in leaders and workers. A manager should realize that a culture affects the development and productivity of the company .To assist workers to embrace a new culture, putting into consideration the opinion and feelings of the workers about change is important for a manager. There is need to motivate the workers to do away with old habits or way of doing things and instead participate actively in creating a new culture. This no doubt supports the adoption of a management style that requires emotional intelligence in a leader. The ability and skills by a manager to address emotional outcomes triggered by the change in culture no doubt is vital as an effective change management strategy.

Culture can differ in a number of dimensions. According to Fons and Charles (Fons and Charles, 1997), these dimensions include individualism v. communitarianism, neutrality v. affectivity, inner directed v outer directed, sequential time v synchronic time, achieved status v. ascribed status and specific v. diffuse dimensions. Managers need to understand cultural differences that influence how workers in a given society undertake their activities. Realizing that people are different makes a manager well placed to adopt a change management style that recognizes the uniqueness of different cultures. A culture that a company may adopt in its management relies on how the people solve problems that relate to time, environment and people. Solving problems that relate to relationships with the people must engage emotions, feelings and opinion of the workers about issues. A manager will need to adopt a change management style that integrates the people’s culture so that efforts to make changes are not hindered by cultural beliefs and practices. A good example of the need for managers to acknowledge the uniqueness of each culture is when working in an environment that is influenced by German and South Korean cultures. In South Korea, relationships seem to overshadow the law while in Germany rules are considered to be important over relationships. Therefore, dealing with cultural differences when introducing changes may be effective when emotional intelligence is applied. In the United States, universalism is common and it promotes the tendency of the people to adhere to the concepts of social injustice. Individual decisions are based on these concepts. Particularism is whereby choices are based on the relationship one has with the people instead of the principles. This is seen in Venezuela and Russia. Social justice and relationships engage emotions and knowing how to manage them in change management is critical.

The Goleman’s theory of emotional intelligence proposes that emotional intelligence is a learned ability that is very important just like the basic intelligence hence it needs to be learned. Goleman (Goleman, 1995) through the theory supports the idea that both destructive and healthy emotions can control lives. Due to the power that emotions have, feelings need to be considered just as important as logic. Because emotions create instant plans for one to handle a given situation, they prepare the body to respond differently to different situations. Goleman’s theory supports the argument that a human being is comprised of two minds whereby one feels while the other thinks. The principle emotions according top Goleman’s theory include; Anger: resentment, sorrow, grief, outrage, fury, cheerlessness, fear, anxiety, terror, apprehension, enjoyment, joy, happiness, amusement, delight, Love: devotion, infatuation, trust, kindness, Disgust: scorn, abhorrence, contempt, Surprise: amusement, astonishment, shock and Shame: remorse, humiliation, guilt, embarrassment. Because emotions have physical effects on the body, the rational mind is affected when the emotions get out of control. However, emotions may have an independent view that differs from those of the rational mind. The five domains of emotional intelligence know one’s emotion, managing the emotions, motivating one, recognizing other people’s emotions and handling relationships. Change management engages the workers’ emotions and feelings and therefore a manager when adopting a certain change management style should be able to predict the kind of emotions that result from the changes as well as the effects of those emotions on the physical body. For example, if the change arouses anger and dissatisfaction, the workers may be unable to work effectively. Managing the emotions of workers ensures that a manager is well placed to eliminate negative feelings and disappointment. In case workers become excited and happy about change, it is important that feelings do not overwhelm the workers to a point where focus on work is compromised. This demands that emotions should not be allowed to get out of control at the work place. For workers who may become angry for the new changes, anger management needs to be effective. The need for a manager to integrate the fundamentals of emotional competence in a company makes it vital for him or her to adopt a change management style that has a basis on emotional intelligence.

Maccoby’s theory in relation to leadership describes a leader as a person who needs to be followed. Leaders support what is best for a company or organization. Maccoby (Maccoby, 2007) states that for a leader to engage followers, he or she needs to understand the followers. Because management involves processes and systems, it is important that an effective interactive leadership system is embraced in undertaking of various activities. This involves the development of various strategies, their implementation and facilitation. Both the leader and workers in an organization must work together to ensure success in management. For example, a manager must be able to inspire the workers and give them a sense of purpose and enthusiasm that can assist them to achieve their goals. However, self managing teams can replace managers in leadership. However, leadership is important for guiding the behavior and values that are upheld in a given company. The theory of social character and arguments about leadership proposes that leadership needs to be revised due to the changes that people experience in the society, at work and within the family structure. For leaders to be followed, they need to be effective and to put into consideration the opinion of the others. This is why if a leader who would be planning to adopt a change management style needs to be sensitive to the opinion and emotions of the workers. In addition, this will require one to have emotional intelligence. Motivating workers at work will require a manager to have the ability to manage the emotions of the workers.

The path-goal theory of leader effectiveness and the expectancy theory of motivation are important in leadership. The path-goal theory of leader effectiveness demands that a leader set high goals to ensure that the subordinates have a high performance. House (House, 1971) emphasizes through the theory on the need for a leader to work at the relationship between the subordinate’s needs and the organizational goals. Based on the Vrooms’ Expectancy theory, the path-goal theory explains how the behavior of a leader can motivate subordinates to create satisfaction and efforts. Because the subordinates tend to believe on their ability, they are able to perform well. The four styles of leadership according to the theory are achievement-oriented leadership, directive leadership, participative leadership and supportive leadership. These styles can be applied to involve workers/ subordinates in change management. Considering the opinions, views and feelings of the workers requires management that will require emotional intelligence.

Conclusion

In an organization or company, change management is very important because it improves the productivity and the performance of the workers. There are various change-management styles that can be adopted depending on the goals of the change. In many cases, change can be easy for some workers or employees while it might be difficult for others. This is because while some are flexible and dynamic, some may hold strongly to the culture and the values that a company has held for a long time. One of the most important things to note is that, the emotions are a powerful force that influences the behavior of a person as he or she responds to a particular situation or issue. It is therefore realistic for a leader to adopt a change management style that is based on emotional intelligence. Change affects the emotions, views and opinion of the workers and to ensure that a leader can manage change well, putting into consideration the emotions of the workers is very vital.

References

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