Michael Hyatt

MEET THE AUTHORMichael Hyatt is also a blogger, a speaker and co-author of the national best-seller Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.

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The Importance Of Successfully Leading Through Change

To remain competitive, most organizations stay up to date on every technology, continually propose innovative products and always embrace change. However, putting change into practice is much more complex than it appears.

To that effect, effective leaders have to be confident, self-aware, self-assured, strategic, adaptable, bold, resourceful, driven, accountable and able to think on their feet. Needless to say, ineffective leadership hinders change, creates mistrust, disengagement, misalignment and a loss of moral among employees.

Wondering how to successfully lead change and overcome resistance?

Leading Through Change

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

It has the ability to stimulate interest in a job and can be perceived as a new challenge. It also creates an opportunity for promotion and to learn new skills.

Change becomes compulsory and evident in the workplace during societal movements, when the values and beliefs of both leaders and employees no longer match those of the company. Change also happens when the organization requires new skills, new products or services, policies update, restructuring, or relocation.

Resistance to change

Change brings about an initial resistance, can easily become chaotic and unstable. When faced with change, most people believe that they will:

  • potentially lose their current position,
  • be demoted, that their career will eventually suffer or that their hard work will be devalued,
  • be working for a lower salary,
  • lose control over their own life,
  • live in the unknown.

The unknown generates strong emotions in people. Therefore, employees tend to resist change when they are surprised or unprepared, don’t understand the reasons for the change, are not implicated enough in the decision-making process.

Indeed, some people will openly express their resistance to change, some will voluntarily sabotage change, others will quietly and passively express their discontent. It is the role of the leader to temper such behavior and push change.

How to implement change?

The leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise. To lead the change process from start to finish:

  1. Assess your own ability to handle change. Before undertaking such mission, ensure that you believe in the change and that it doesn’t go against your principles. In addition, keep in mind that reacting to the change is much more difficult than initiating it. Either you can start the movement, participate in it or suffer and react to it.
  2. Stay disciplinedresilient and patient. The change process is slow and everybody moves at their own pace.
  3. Learn to communicate your vision which encompasses your values and morals.
  4. Be authentic and transparent in order to build trust and to improve relationships. Change is much more difficult to implement when there is a climate of mistrust.
  5. Be open to feedback and to making alterations to the original plan of action.
  6. Ask probing questions to key employees, acknowledge that you don’t know all the answers and be open to learn continually. This will allow you to gather appropriate information, to anticipate issues, to maximize effort.
  7. Evaluate the right amount of change you want to implement. You don’t want to overwhelm or burn out your employees .
  8. Calculate the costs and determine the feasibility of the change to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It becomes critical to motivate the necessary time and resources, to place emphasis on the value and sustainability of change.
  9. Analyze the consequences of change before undertaking anything.
  10. Understand the company culture, its values and beliefs in order to best present ideas and to determine a proper structure.
  11. Design a clear strategy and outcome for the process. For example, you can break the change process into smaller steps, prioritize them and create metrics to measure progress.
  12. Identify the influencers and the people who are open to change in your organization. Find informal leaders in your organization, who will motivate others and who will instill pride in their work.
  13. Discuss the implications of change with your employees and increase the number of meetings if necessary. Listen to the questions and concerns of your employees. It is necessary to reassure people about the upcoming changes by explaining to them the reasons and the benefits for change.
  14. Directly address problems, don’t micromanage and don’t openly criticize dissenting voices in order to shut them up.
  15. Keep your energy up during the process, motivate your team and show them the positive sides of the transformation. Persuade your employees that they will benefit from the change to increase commitment.
  16. Encourage collaboration on your team, mitigate conflicts and maintain harmony as much as possible because emotions are high.
  17. Set high expectations and give your team the confidence to deal with changes and gain their approval every step of the way.
  18. Give your employees more ownership of their work to increase commitment.
  19. Expect setbacks. Understand that the risks are worth the rewards and that it is OK to fail. People don’t take risks when there are no personal rewards, there is no clemency towards failure.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Dealing With Cultural Sensitivity In The Workplace

In the world we live in, with a supremacist leader as the leader of the free world, it seems that culturally ignorant people feel free to demonstrate their ignorance. Lately, cultural ignorance and overtly offending people have been maximized, and this behavior is slowly becoming the norm.

At work and in life, leaders are the ones to demonstrate exemplary behavior when dealing with people from different backgrounds. They have to be emotionally and culturally intelligent.

Wondering how to adjust yourself with different cultures, to become more culturally sensitive and create a healthy workplace?

Cultural Sensitivity Workplace

What is culture?

Culture is a dynamic and complex system of shared values, norms and symbols that distinguishes groups of people from others and that bound them together. It is demonstrated most often in literature, art, religion, language, traditions.

Furthermore, culture is learnt, and shapes one’s personal behavior, values, thoughts, experiences. for example, it defines one’s reaction to conflict or our problem solving skills.

Culture lays the basis for purpose, a higher calling and meaning in life. It is built on morals and a set of unspoken rules. It also conditions our perception for failure and success.

What is cultural sensitivity?

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is not the same. It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

Cultural sensitivity means viewing everyone as a unique individual. It promotes unity and has become a skill that is most useful in the world of today.

Why is cultural sensitivity important?

Cultural sensitivity is detrimental because it introduces the concept of identity, of cultural appreciation, of cultural differences. It consequently increase the feeling of belonging and of safety. It improves communication, the quality of work in multinationals or when dealing with coworkers from different backgrounds. In addition, it removes the idea of cultural superiority.

Contrasting cultures bring a diverse set of knowledge, competencies, perspectives and ideas. If positively and purposefully harnessed, culture differences can trigger innovation, creativity and improve job satisfaction.

How to become a culturally sensitive leader?

Work is a part of an individual social identity. Corporate has its own culture, with its norm, its rules, its own values and own systems of beliefs. If the culture is healthy and positive, people easily feel empowered, valued and give better results.

In the corporate culture, managing people with different backgrounds is complex and full of challenges. Regardless of the laws in place, there are a lot of micro aggression towards diversity.

To create culturally sensitive environment, and subsequently a healthy workplace:

  1. Encourage self-awareness and self-development. Change is an internal process that requires self-analysis and self-respect beforehand.
  2. Stay authentic and don’t try to appropriate or claim someone else’s culture.
  3. Be mindful, be open to new experiences and don’t hesitate to explore and learn new things.
  4. Remember, with every interaction, that every person from a different culture is a human-being.
  5. Embrace people who are different from yourself. Get to know the person’s background to understand their behavior, how they operate in society and how they experience life.
  6. Listen actively and respectfully to people and when speaking, choose your words carefully.
  7. Avoid imposing your ideas on people and forcing them into a box of stereotypes.
  8. Take the initiative and learn other people’s dynamics through personal experience or prolonged exposure.
  9. Identify some idioms and sayings. Also, pronounce their name correctly and accept silence as an act of communication. Learning their language will consequently improve communication.
  10. Show appreciation for someone else’s culture. On one hand, demonstrate empathy and avoid judging them. On the other hand, don’t pander too much to someone else’s culture.
  11. Ask probing open-ended questions. Avoid asking too many questions as not to overwhelm your interlocutor.
  12. Help your employees to understand the company’s culture, expectations, goals and code of conduct.
  13. Work on your social skills. Focus on building healthy relationships.
  14. Effectively navigate conflicts brought by cultural differences.
  15. Pick up on emotional and non verbal cues during conversations.
  16. Take and provide diversity trainings.
  17. If you are part of the majority, seek understanding before seeking to be understood. opening up to minorities will help them accept yours faster, to face challenges better and will increase their work performance.
  18. Respect that other people won’t want to integrate your culture. 
  19. Allow people to express freely their values. This will increase their interactions with others, their work performance and their well-being.
  20. Learn to compromise.
  21. Encourage your team to travel more and to approach diverse group of people outside of work.

Adjusting or understanding a culture is a long process. Learning and adjusting to someone else’s culture doesn’t mean that you have to deny your own. It just means that you are able to work and collaborate with people from diverse culture.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.