Skills And Competencies To Be A Change Leader Management Essay

For the past two decades, the amount of significant change that the organizations faced in order to survive has tremendously increased, and many of the researchers argued that this situation will continue and demand more of future leaders (Wren & Dulewicz, 2005; Senge et al., 2002). Leadership is such a crucial component for undergoing these changes, and identifying the key components of leadership is important for the success of these transformation efforts (Beer & Nohria, 2000). Kotter (1996) considered that, leadership is the key to creating and sustaining the successful organization, because it helps the organization to shape its future and sustain its growth. To succeed consistently, good leaders need to be skilled not just in evaluating people but also in evaluating the abilities and disabilities of their firm as a whole.

In addition, leadership competencies are also essential to lead the change processes in an effective way (Christensen & Overdorf, 2000). According to Sanchez et al., (1996), leadership competencies have a cognitive aspect, with regard to knowledge and skills the leader possesses, and an action aspect that enables a leader to deploy their competencies in a coordinated manner. Leaders’ competencies and skills will influence the actions, structures and processes that enhance the change and it further strengthen the effectiveness in implementing change (Gilley et al., 2009). This essay will critically analyse whether anyone can adapt these leadership skills and competencies which is necessary to be a successful change leader. The analysis will be done based on the references of academic research that has been already conducted in this field.

Necessary Skills and Competencies to be a change leader

Leadership is different from management; leadership complements management but it does not replace it. Because management is about coping with complexity but the leadership is about coping with change (Kotter, 1990).

The leadership-skill requirements will vary based on the leaders’ positions and their levels. The most important skills where the leaders need to be possessed are cognitive skills, business skills, strategic skills and interpersonal skills. Across all the leadership levels cognitive skills are founded to be more important. In addition, interpersonal skills are required for a leader in greater degree than business or strategic skills (Sparks & Gentry, 2008). For example) during the group work on simulation game, the leaders of the successful teams had contributed a great part by understanding the views of the team members and through the organization of team meeting. This helped the team to bring out fruitful ideas and plans uniquely and also it helped the group leaders to emphasize their cognitive and interpersonal skills effectively. Compared to other skills, the significance of business and strategic skills is more required for the leaders in managerial level (Sparks & Gentry, 2008).

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Possessing these leadership skills in change management has been linked to bringing about effective and successful organization change. Although, some of the factors are considered as the barriers for the success of the change, they are lack of understanding of change implementation techniques and the inability to alter one’s leadership style or organization functions (Bossidy & Charan, 2002; Gilley, 2005). The other barriers identified by the analysis include the inability of the leaders to motivate others to change, poor communication skills, and failure to reward or recognize the individuals who make the effort to change (Kotter, 1996). Hence the ability to understand and manage the change processes is valued as a necessary capability of change leaders. Many of the scholars defined this ability as a social intelligence skill, which is the ability to understand one’s own and others’ feelings, behaviours and thoughts in interpersonal situations and to respond appropriately, which includes emotional ability (Burke, 2002).

Finally, leaders’ thoughts and skills are manifested through the actions of implementing change across the organization. In this stage, the leaders need to be aware about avoiding coordination issues when the different functional groups in an organization work on a common task. Because lack of coordination will raise conflicts in implementing change and it reduce its success (Kuhl et al., 2005). For example, while working for the multi-product task, the lack of coordination across the leaders from different departments affected the implementation of change. There were lot of conflicts aroused in allocating the budget across each department of the organization and hence it led to the ineffective change implementation.

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As per Zaccaro (2002), effective leadership requires social reasoning skills to understand, judge and diagnose social situations accurately, and relational competencies to respond to the change and manage them successfully. Since change implementation involves the understanding of multiple level of people (i.e., individual, group and organizational), social-emotional competency is regarded to have a direct impact on the capacity to lead change. It acts as a greater predictor of leading change than managing complexity. Social-emotional competency includes observing the employees’ views, providing constructive feedback, encouraging the cooperation among team members, maintaining effective interpersonal relationships with others and treating others with respect regardless of their position or rank (Mathew, 2009). For example) while working for the simulation game, in some of the groups, there was a long debate happened among the team members about the implementation of change strategies with different views and hence conflicts aroused. The leaders of those teams were also failed to maintain cooperation within the team. This led them to choose inappropriate change strategies and directed towards failure to reach their target. But while enquiring the teams who reached the target, I came to knew that the team leader had delegated the roles to each team members based on their knowledge about the game and by providing constructive feedback on their views. This helped them to maintain a good cooperation within the team without giving the ways for any conflicts and also it provided a way to reach their target within the time limit and budget.

Within a change specific context Higgs and Rowland (2000, 2001) indicated a cluster of change leadership competencies associated with coaching and developing others. In addition Giglio et al. (1998) also emphasized the importance of leaders’ coaching role in the change process. Because a good leader should motivate their employees in order to make them aware of the change process. This will be done by providing appropriate coaching to them. According to Hudson (1999), coaching skills enable leaders to approach situations from new perspectives and to question the status quo. Moreover, the leaders who coach their employees can enhance their renewal capacity and resilience, which has significant influence on organizational success. Finally and more importantly it allows others to make and learn from mistakes.

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Huq (2006) argued that the leadership competencies can help to create the six sigma cadre in an organization. He argued that the personal and corporate competencies play a vital role in creating this six sigma cadre. Personal competencies include the technical knowledge and charisma of the leader. Whilst the corporate competencies include the combinations of skills and knowledge or experience that enable a leader to implement the change program successfully. But the available evidence shows that, even the experienced leaders were deviated from these competencies in some circumstances. The most recent examples of sudden corporate implosions (Enron, Lehman Brothers) have apparently raised concerns about the nature and influence of bad leadership. Higgs (2009) have identified that the causes of this leadership failure were due to combination of personal flaws and performance shortfalls. While exploring this concept, he also identified a range of causal factors for these implosions which are skill deficiencies, being insensitive to others, betraying trust, arrogance and being overly ambitious. He argued that the personal flaws were more vital than skill deficiencies as drivers of derailment.


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