4 Traps that will prevent Change

Change is loaded with uncertainty and can get messy if not handled correctly. Cautious behaviours, high strung emotions and wobbly expectations create an unstable pot for progress. Double-minded leaders guiding doubtful team members causes blindness to the various traps that will drag you back to the level you wanted to leave. Four traps in specific are common to change agents and will prevent your path to progress. These four traps are:

1.       The fear of failure: Did you not the trap is not failure itself, but the fear? Ask any one that has failed about their experience and they will tell you that even though the experience was unpleasant, it offered great lessons and rewards.

But when you have the fear of failing – you don’t move! Blinded, you will miss opportunities, signals to turn, options for progress and lessons to grow. It is not failure that limits you, it is the debilitating fear that prevents your progress.

Leader – it is time to move beyond your fear and observe the horizons of opportunity. Chances and change await your arrival with eagerness.

2.       The fear of the unknown: Again! It is not the unknown that limits you, but rather the fear. In twenty tears of consulting the number one reason change doesn’t happen in business, teams and an organisation is the failure to do research.

Leaders feel that research is time consuming and costly, and it is shoved off to one side in order for the progress to begin. Ignoring research fuels the burning uncertainty in the minds of your team members. They are acutely aware that they are planning and stepping out completely blind.

Correcting navigation errors or decision blunders can be even more costly and time consuming that the research that could have prevented such a disaster. Yet, the biggest cost of not doing effective research to start with, is the team will lose faith in your ability to lead, for which the remedy is extremely time consuming and costly to your career.

Do research to remove the fear of the unknown. Research and planning turns the fear of the unknown into a calculated risk.

3.       The pull of the past: When your team is torn by uncertainty and confused about what
happens next – the safest thing for them to do is to return the process and programmes of the past. They are comfortable and know what to expect with previous strategies.

The Pull of the Past shouts that the leader failed to train and equip the team for the change to come. A lack of training and validation causes a desire to flare, that wants to return to a time and place more familiar.

Train your team. Let them practice all scenarios. Let the training be in a safe place with a forgiving mindset, and focus on equipping your people for what is to come.  

4.       The lack of instant feedback: When the future is dark and uncertain, people look for feedback. The desire for validation of skills, behaviours and attitudes becomes overwhelming.

Encouraging and positive feedback from the Leader is crucial at this time. Positive affirmation of the correct behaviour is vital, and gentle correction of deviations is essential.

At times, people won’t even want your feedback. They just want to voice their experiences and concerns. At times like this, you as the leader, are called to listen.

Open a two-way channel for feedback before you implement change. The sense of being heard and being validated will relax your team members and make them feel valued.

Managing change is a leaders greatest calling. Learn the Phases of Change; learn to recognise the phases of team development. Prepare yourself and grow your leadership ability for it is not in times of peace that you will make your mark as a leader. It is in times of change that you will be set apart and listed with the great leaders of history.

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