Transformation Starts With The Leader

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One of the key ingredients of leadership success is the ability to navigate change and lead the people through uncertain times, bumpy terrains and anxieties about the future. During a crisis, the leader is not sure about the future but should remain honest and resilient throughout. This might seem like an unfair expectation as leaders are people like all of us, however, they are expected to step up and rise to the occasion when circumstances call for it.

This means that people are looking up to leaders for hope, strength and direction in the terrain of change. The expectation placed on leaders is not to be taken lightly as much as the effort and support that they need to transform into change agents. Business and HR executives should double their efforts in making sure that leaders are well-positioned and equipped to deal with the current state of affairs, even more importantly, helping organisations beyond the pandemic.

There should be more investment in the development of leaders as change agents. John C Maxwell is right when he says that “growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow is going to get better”.

Organisations will indeed grow to the extent that the leaders will grow. None of us has a crystal ball about when and how the coronavirus will end but it will end just like other pandemics before it. Neither do we know when the next pandemic will rear its head. What we are sure of is that change will remain constant, be it due to the health pandemic, economic or political factors.

Leaders are capable to transform the world only if they can transform first. Business and HR executives who are serious and committed to protect and sustain their business functions should focus on the transformation of leaders to become change agents.

Here are a few recommendations:

#1.     Develop change capability: Leaders need to be the first to acknowledge and appreciate change as a dynamic force of innovation. Once they accept change and are open to it, the transition becomes easier and quicker.

#2.     Instil values: No amount of policies, guidelines, standard operating procedures and any form of document will bring change until leaders transform first. Sustainable transformation comes from inside out and it comes by instilling values. The close alignment between the organisation’s and the leader’s values raises the consciousness of the leaders in driving effective change.

#3.     Build resilience: As Sheryl Sandberg says, “to fight for change tomorrow, we need to build resilience today”.  Leaders need to have the courage to face their fears, deal with their limiting beliefs and bounce back when they fall. They need to do this for themselves and the people that they have to lead through the change.  

There will always be discomfort and anxiety when change happens.  At least half the battle is won when leaders are equipped ahead of time to handle and navigate their people through change. Organisations cannot afford to have everyone, including those in leadership roles, lost when leaders are needed the most to step up. 

Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author. Book Tex for speaking engagements and to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.

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