Leaders are not transformers

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I have read many books about leadership, teams and motivation. Alongside these there are many books about change and the impact it has on an organisation.

Whenever I’m looking at the role of leadership in comparison to managing, I’m seeing the same thing and I’m beginning to think we have created one of the biggest issues in business today. Leaders do not always need to transform or change a business. The defining trait for leaders should not be their ability to transform and yet everything we are teaching people today is exactly that.

As a leader you should inspire, challenge and demonstrate a vision that people can follow but this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change everything. We spent years under the belief that Taylorism was the solution (more people to make more boxes without any thought or conversation) and while we now know that isn’t right, creating a generation of leaders who believe that they need to change everything to be successful is equally wrong.

Change is an epidemic inside our organisations today. Talk to any internal communicator and they will tell you they are juggling several change programmes. We have change specialists and change teams and change management courses – the list goes on. Change is a perfectly normal part of life – both business and personal – and managing it does require skills, but it shouldn’t require a team of people on a continual basis. If it does, that is just business as usual.

In a lot of organisations ambiguity is the norm and I believe this is driven by a leadership need to continually change. I work with all sorts of teams inside organisations and they often tell me there is so much to juggle and little clarity on what is happening and why. When I work with business leaders, keen to grow and take their businesses forward I remind them that doing what they do really well and focussing on the basics is important.

Lead your team, your department or your organisation with a clear vision and take them with you on that change with consistent, open communication. To lead is not to change so please consider your leadership style and purpose and the impact it has on the teams around you.

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