A Change Leader's Checklist

May 14, 2012
5 Min Read

Change isn’t easy, but it’s inevitable. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to guide your team through uncertain times. No matter what kind of shifts your team encounters, you can manage the unsure times that lie ahead.

1. Build Your Team

Having the right team to carry out change is crucial to the growth of not just the team, but the entire organization. Good change makers can spot passionate people by the way they carry themselves, the confidence they exude, and the drive they possess. You will face adversity while implementing change. As the leader, you must know your team can confidently overcome any obstacle.

On the flip side, you want to avoid naysayers. They never have anything nice to say, and they’re chronic skeptics. They never offer solutions. With changes of magnitude, true teamwork is needed. Working with negative or untrustworthy types makes it that much harder for you to meet your goals – or get others to see the value in them.

2. Gain Buy-In


Opening the lines of communication with your team creates a level of trust that cannot be gained otherwise. Being open about shifts will foster buy-in early. Make no mistake: buy-in doesn’t happen once; you must continue to build trust. You’ll likely have a team member who isn’t an early adopter. A positive team environment, based on collaboration, is crucial when motivating change. People need to know that they’re part of a team-oriented environment where trust is first. Change often shakes people’s foundations. By displaying honesty, you will create the security needed for your team to function and achieve.

3. Create Credibility


Proving your team has a successful track record of deploying change is what gives your team credibility. Management will take your team seriously when they prove they’re not only effective, but also efficient. When management decides to make a change, they often desire swift, but proper, execution of a plan. Because management is occupied with several organizational changes, they rely heavily on the assigned team to build morale and activate change seamlessly. Proving that your team is creative, but also efficient, will develop a trusting relationship between the team and management.

4. Keep Moving Forward


Change doesn’t happen overnight. Remind your team that change is a journey, not a destination. It’s important to focus on today, working toward a common goal. We often think too far in the distance, and overlook small victories. When you plan for potential setbacks, you’re better equipped to manage them when they arise – and defuse their impact.

Be sure to check in regularly. Nothing is worse than a leader who places the full burden of change on his team. A good leader will only task his team with jobs he himself would do. Conduct frequent meetings to gather updates, as well as information on hot-button issues. Take time to really hear how they’re feeling, but eliminate the “us vs. them” mentality and keep moving.

Being the leader of change is both the most difficult position to be in and a position of power. Leading through change gives you the capability to truly establish your team as flexible and creative, and it allows you to own the change – not be owned by it.

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