Change leadership

Leo TolstoyLeo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, said “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

In the business consultancy everybody talks about managing change and change management. Consultants are offering a set of processes, tools and mechanisms or structures intend to perform and keep whichever change effort under control. But if we look at all of those tools, they’re trying to push through these changes, we get plethora techniques to minimize disruptions, i.e., keep things under control during and after changes have been implemented. Thusly the legitimate question is “Do these tools work as they should?” The answer to that is in my post: Management practices and tools that just “don’t work” and until today I haven’t changed it yet.

But what about “change leadership”?

Change leadership has its own demands. It requires a different mindset than change management and focuses mainly on an extra set of capabilities in order to lead an organization to a new place. It’s more about having a big vision. It’s more about empowering employees and not introducing new management techniques.

Change leadership

Organization that merely looks on its organizational process to change like: only reducing time or cost when doing tasks, is marginalizing individual learning and adaptation that are also necessary. Such organization focuses exclusively on business’ outcomes. The direct attention, served by management consultants, is to the ‘technical’ aspects of a new solution. Consequently organization fails to realize that only employees will do the implementation of projected change. That is why employees need a new learning and not just to develop additional skills. Such a learning that will lead to a profoundly different performance due to change. Change leadership is definitively conscious of it.

Change managementChange management efforts commonly fail because they are designed to carry out initiatives that come from the top. This is done with the aim to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change. Managers forget that they can’t delegate or relinquish total ownership of the change. They are keen to announce the change and then disappear. If employees sense a lack of interest or passion they’ll follow accordingly. And people, prune to resist to change (blog: Resistance to change), will take advantage of it.

Contrary to change management change leadership takes interest in those issues knowing that a vision set could not be reached without the above mentioned. Change leadership has the potential to get things a little bit out of control too. But a leader stays in touch, communicates frequent progress updates, praises wins, and establishes a feedback loop (see: Feedback in Leadership). Change leadership vis-à-vis change management is like putting a new engine to work without  changing and adapting the whole change process to make it go faster, smarter and more efficient.

Maybe still not today but change leadership is going to be the big challenge in the future.


  1. Very well explain!!! Change leadership has its own demands and requires a different mindset and an extra set of capabilities in order to lead your organization to a new place. Thanks and see more at:-

    1. Thank you so much Esham for your nice comment and a link. I've read Blanchard book in 80's and enjoyed and used some ideas ...

  2. Leadership is one of the most important skills that one should acquire. Change leadership is something new that I did not know about. Thanks for sharing a brief about it. I really appreciate the way you have explained. Leadership training Florida.

  3. Thank you Eric Sheppard for nice comment and interesting link from which I see we have something in-common. Best regards jaro.

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