Leaders make change. Leaders have a large capacity for change. Leaders are ahead of the curve in their change process when they tell their team about it.
Consider this – when someone tells you to change something, what is your reaction? Do you become defensive, get frustrated, or feel motivated to do something different?
Most people we know do not like to be told to change. As a leader, you are responsible to make change happen, but we have found that it is much more effective to inspire change than to demand it.
People are inspired when they understand the “why” behind the change. It seems like a simple thing to do, but explaining the why in terms that are meaningful is often overlooked. Make change meaningful by explaining its purpose. Meaningful change is change that matters.
Here are a few tips to help inspire change:
- Make it vivid – Use analogies, share examples and tell stories to help people SEE the change for themselves. Inspiration is all about stimulating, motivating, encouraging, and influencing others to action. What they see and believe, they will do.
- Connect change to something bigger. What is the greater why? What is the powerful purpose? Whether you tie the change to your vision and mission, your values, or your strategy, change that inspires is bigger than the change itself!
- Model the change – If it’s important for someone else to do, it’s important enough for you to do. We are inspired by what we see people DO more than what they say. As Gandhi famously said, “BE the change you wish to see in the world.” Stop telling and start modeling the change.
- Listen to understand – during times of change, people need to process what is happening. We live in a “fix it” world where the mere mention of a frustration or inconvenience moves us into problem-solving mode. Stop solving and start listening! One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to allow them to feel “heard.” That means you must focus on understanding and do not solve – just listen.
Inspiration is infinitely more successful in creating change. Choose your actions carefully as you inspire others toward meaningful change.