What To Do When Your Leader Won’t Change
They say the only constant is change.
But what if your leader doesn’t embrace change and instead refuses to adjust outdated practices?
I posed this scenario to my followers and heard back from nearly 1,200 people. The vast majority (70%) said to talk to them. 15% of people said they would quit.
Change can be difficult, especially for leaders who may have been doing things a certain way for years. Many commenters suggested first talking to the leader to understand their reasons for not wanting to change. Knowing where the leader is coming from can help you tailor your approach to make change.
Consider what proof may be needed to convince them to change. Does that mean getting other leaders on board to show that most people want change? You may need to show what the competition is doing and how your company should change to keep up. Data and proof showing the financial reasons for change can also be powerful.
Commenter Erik Hupjé said this: “When it comes to managing (creating) change, it’s always a good practice to show people what’s in it for them, how the change can benefit them.”
Another commenter, Jacqueline Jackson-Cole, recommended translating figures into numbers and focusing on short-term goals before long-term goals. Tying the change to financial gain or loss and time and resources saving can be motivating to many leaders.
But that doesn’t mean the leader will always be willing to change.
Nearly every commenter mentioned that getting leaders to change can be difficult and often impossible. After all, these people are in positions of power for a reason and don’t often like to be told what to do.
Talking to a leader is different from a leader talking to an employee. There are often power dynamics to consider. When talking to your leader, think through the best channel to use that shows you respect their position but also want to change their mind. It could be meeting with them one on one to share why you want something to change, or you may need to bring up the issue at an all-hands meeting or open forum. Occasionally, you may need to talk to another leader who is their peer or superior who can lead the charge. Weigh your options and consider the culture of your company and the personality of your leader.
It might not be easy, but by talking to your leader and finding the right motivation to show your side, you might be able to move your leader in the right direction.
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