Organizations are always under the pressure of having to respond to change so why not be proactive to implement desirable changes? Well, it’s not so easy and can be difficult to invest political capital when the organization may not be on board.
Unfortunately, whether it is the organizational culture, the team dynamic, or stakeholders that are stuck in their ways, your leadership will eventually suffer if you don’t find ways of successfully selling and implementing changes necessary to deliver on your goals.
Here are some reasons why leaders fail at implementing change:
Some leaders have a need to be liked.
They tend to be more social with their teammates to increase their likeability. Using the Predictive Index Behavioral-Based system, these would be leaders that fall into the Collaborator and Promoter profile type. Collaborators are friendly and patient. Promoters tend to be casual and extroverted.
These types of leaders will shy away from conflict and from pursuing changes that might be perceived in a negative light. They have difficulty dealing with contentious issues. However, these leaders miss a golden opportunity for better collaboration by acknowledging that not everyone will agree. When leaders can facilitate healthy debate on contentious issues, the team will become more cohesive and will seek ways to improve their team. They will implement the necessary change even if it is hard to do.
Unbalanced relationships that make leaders feel unsafe.
Leaders can feel unsafe when they are swimming upstream with their bosses, peers, or other influential people in the company. This happens when values, opinions, or experiences don’t line up between the leader and these other stakeholders. Unfortunately, this sometimes isn’t realized until the leader begins to grapple with an issue and finds out that there isn’t any support for the positive change the leader wishes to implement. In these instances, there are effective communication techniques and ways to manage the conflict. If done correctly, there is a good chance you can get other stakeholders bought into the change, but you have to be willing to expend some political capital and stand up for what you believe. I’ve seen many leaders lose their jobs because of their inaction. While they felt unsafe and didn’t want to rock the boat with those that were in disagreement, they were typically replaced over time for their lack of action. What would you rather do, get fired for not taking action, or openly communicate with your stakeholders to come to some agreement? Maybe you don’t get to do everything you would like to, but at least gain their respect and negotiate a compromise.
Fear of failure.
We all occasionally have doubts about our abilities. Sometimes, leaders may feel they have some deeper inadequacies they fear will be seen by others. Other leaders may feel they aren’t really up for the job. Typically, when leaders are able to see their organization, other stakeholders, their team, and other important aspects of their current work environment for what it is, there are leadership strategies that can be developed and implemented to help remove the fear of failure. Fear of failure can debilitate leaders and without help this problem can escalate into an untenable situation. This barrier to implementing change needs to be addressed with professional coaching and leadership development.
If you fall into any of these three categories, you can get more advice by signing up for our complimentary 30-minute team improvement plan.