Leading Change? Don’t Overlook This Critical Step

Changes Ahead , Road Warning Sign , 3d render

I’ve heard it a bunch.

  • I heard the feedback
  • I’ve worked hard to change
  • But no one seems to notice 


Making a change isn’t enough. You have to announce you are changing, and the reasons why.

It comes down to psychology.

Beliefs, like sunglasses, filter what people see.

Let’s say many believe you care more about your own career advancement than you care about your team’s development. They may look at you with their Rob’s out for himself  glasses and interpret your every move through this filter.

If their filter doesn’t change, their perception won’t either. No matter what you do.

So the first step in making a change is letting people know you intend to change, and why. 

For example, in this instance, Rob might pull his team together and say:

  • Through feedback I’ve become aware that sometimes I let my agenda get in the way of working with you as well as I’d like.
  • I want to fix this. I plan to spend more time in the trenches coaching and supporting you as a group as best I can. And, over the next few months, I plan to meet with each of individually to better understand how I can support you in your own career development.
  • Finally, please give me ongoing feedback. When you see me doing it well let me know. And let me know when I slip back into old patterns. This will take time but I am committed. Together we can make this happen.

This accomplishes three important things:

  • It let’s them know you heard their concerns
  • It gives them some skin in the game and makes change a collective effort
  • Most important, it changes their filter from There’s Rob out for himself to There’s Rob making an effort to work with me/us better. 

Not everyone will buy in. Some will refuse to put on the new glasses if you will. But most will adapt to the new filter and see you in a new light as you work to change and improve your leadership impact.

And when you do change your behavior, they’ll be much more likely to notice.

Questions for reflection and application:

  • What change do you want to make in your leadership, at work or at home?
  • Who will be impacted by that change?
  • What can you tell them about your intentions to change and why?
  • Have you asked for ongoing feedback?
  • Are you thanking them for that feedback when it’s offered and acting on it?
  • Have you taken their temperature at 3-6 months out by asking how you are doing with the change and continuing to adapt accordingly?

Bottom line: If you are planning to change announce your intentions up front and ask for ongoing feedback. Change their filter, then change your behavior. That first step is critical for long-term success.

Dr. Gary Bradt is a dynamic keynote speaker on change and leadership.Videos and info at www.garybradt.com/speaking. His latest book is The Ring in The Rubble: Dig Through Change to Find Your Next Golden Opportunity. You can contact Gary at gary@garybradt.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryBradt.



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