Leadership and Control of Change

Any leader who believes that he or she can control change in the workplace is in for a rude surprise. While effective leaders are able to guide, influence, and shape workplace changes, ineffective leaders believe they can control change and its effects. Leadership development includes learning that changes always have unintended consequences, and that no major change can take effect without outstanding management communication.

If a leader believes he or she can control change, then micromanagement becomes very likely. The micromanagement trap is bad for leaders and employees, drains productivity, and kills employee motivation. The effective leader's role during times of change in the workplace includes providing structure and vision, but resisting the impulse to try to control every consequence of change.

Outstanding leaders provide their team with direction, incentives, and honest answers to their questions. They give their workers the power to shape their own best course of action toward the goals that the change is meant to address. Paradigm shifts are difficult for everyone, even if the end results are in everyone's best interests.

Management communications are critical to shaping and directing changes in the workplace. Team members who feel like they are out of the communications loop may come to resent their leaders or other team members who appear to be more comfortable with changes than they are. It is important that you, as a leader, do not appear as if you are withholding information from employees. It is also important to realize that "I don't know" is the appropriate answer to some questions - if it is an honest answer!

The illusion of control over changes in the workplace is seductive, but any leader who thinks that he or she has control over every aspect of change is in for an unpleasant correction at some point. Effective leaders aren't perfect, and they do know their limits when it comes to controlling change in the workplace. The most effective leaders are honest, resilient, and great communicators.