The Role of Leaders in Change Management

Introduction

Modern marketing strategies are diverse and constantly evolving. In order to reach the highest level of customer satisfaction, marketers employ a variety of tools that help to bring products closer to people and enable consumers to participate in the decision-making process. One such tool is the introduction of change management that helps to improve the organizations’ productivity by altering the business process, allocating budget, and redirecting the resources. The role of a leader in this process is significant since, without appropriate guidance and management, it is impossible to reach the best outcomes for a company. Leaders are responsible for getting the firms ready for change and helping them to manage the difficulties.

Change Management

Change management is a crucial factor in making an organization successful. Without checking new trends and adjusting to them, it is impossible to sustain the necessary levels of productivity and profitability (Van der Voet 2014). With the help of change management, employees, teams, and whole companies prepare for important adjustments that lead to considerable improvements. Without appropriate leadership, change management may fail, which leads to adverse outcomes for the organization. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the most innovative trends in the market, evaluate the company’s ability to adapt them and think of the ways in which they might be implemented.

One of the aspects of modern change management is digital marketing. It helps leaders to promote their organizations’ products and services and simultaneously gives a possibility to predict the necessary changes. The popularity of user-generated content portals and social networks has inspired marketers to employ them as a means of becoming closer to their consumers (Füller 2010). With the help of digital tools, customers may become active participants in the production and development of a variety of products and services (Powers et al. 2012).

Companies engage their clients in generating and testing new ideas and concepts. With the help of such a change, organizations avoid failures when introducing new products. Unlike conventional consumer involvement, digital co-creation not only allows to ask people about their needs and desires but also invites them to share their creative ideas and solutions (Füller 2010). Social networks such as Tweeter play a crucial role in the implementation of change (Thoring 2011). With their help, leaders fulfill various purposes, such as increasing brand awareness, escalating sales, and performing market research.

The Role of Leaders in Change Management

In the process of change management, it is leaders who bear the greatest responsibility. Unlike managers who create plans, solve issues, and organize employees, leaders’ job is to prepare a company for change and make sure that it copes with the process of adjustment (Kotler & Keller 2012). Leaders are the ones who set the organizations’ directions, align employees, and motivate people to show their best performance.

Cameron and Green (2012) emphasize the need for modern leaders to be connective and outline the following features of such leaders:

  • they should be well-informed politically but combine this knowledge with ethical conduct;
  • leaders should be authentic and responsible. These objectives can be achieved through dedicating themselves to the organization’s goals and thoroughly analyzing each option before making the final decision;
  • connective leaders should look for commonalities and create communities;
  • they should have a long-term thinking and short-term acting. A good leader should coach successors and create long-term future prospects irrespective of the ongoing demand;
  • leaders should have high expectations and show trust to their employees;
  • connective leaders should seek for meaning and try to make the world a better place.

There are different views about the role of a leader during the process of change (Cameron and Green 2012). According to the machine metaphor, a leader occupies the highest position in the company, sets the objectives, and establishes the ways of attaining them. The political system metaphor presupposes that the leader should be the main person in a powerful alliance that attracts supporters by means of an appealing vision and negotiation. The organism metaphor implies that the leader’s major duty is consulting and coaching. The flux and transformation metaphor considers the leader as a facilitator of rising change (Cameron and Green 2012).

Not all scholars view the leadership of change at the top of the hierarchy. Sometimes, change is seen as something implemented from within the organization rather than by one person (Cameron and Green 2012). However, the majority of specialists agree that the leader’s role is the most significant one in planning and implementing change in the organizations. Moreover, some authors argue that it is not enough to think only of change as a separate means of reaching better outcomes. According to Hornstein (2015), much better results can be achieved if change management is combined with project management. Such cooperation helps to identify the needs and scope of work better and eventually leads to more productive results.

The Assessment of Personal Readiness for Change

In the future, I am planning to run a healthcare facility. That is why I have a full understanding of the need to implement change in my organization. Personally, I feel that I am ready for the process of adjustment because I have consulted many scholarly sources and other professional materials. I realize that implementing change is not an easy task, and I will have to be extremely cautious to avoid mistakes. However, I will keep learning and enhancing my knowledge. I think that once I start my business, I might face some challenges that I cannot predict at the moment. Thus, I will never stop improving my skills and will not be afraid to ask for advice.

The need for implementing change in my organization will impact my role as a leader since it will outline some new responsibilities to my company and employees. I will have to fulfill the following obligations:

  • keep getting acquainted with the most popular innovations;
  • analyze the appropriateness of change for my organization;
  • arrange the communication with customers in order to find out their opinion about change;
  • express trust to employees and ask for their advice and opinions;
  • taking into consideration the attitudes of employees and consumers, make a plan of change;
  • keep control of the implementation process and make sure that all stages are carried out in accordance with the plan;
  • evaluate the impact of change on the organization’s work and draw conclusions about the positive or negative trends that have appeared.

I realize that I may meet serious obstacles when implementing change, but I am sure that if I do everything in accordance with this plan, chances for success will be increased, and the possibility of failure will be eliminated.

Examples of Prior Experiences

The experience of participating in the change management process I have is related to professional experience. There were two cases in which our leader implemented a change in the healthcare facility where I work. The first time it happened when a new patient safety initiative was introduced. I can describe this experience as a positive one. A few months before initiating this project, our leader performed a survey for patients both on the site and with the help of digital marketing.

With the help of this tool, we were able to find out the aspects of safety about which our customers felt most worried. Further, the opinions were analyzed, and viable solutions were suggested. Before introducing new safety measures, the hospital leader arranged a meeting with personnel where he explained the reasons for and expected outcomes of the suggested change. Every employee knew his or her responsibilities and fulfilled them promptly. As a result, the next survey indicated the increase in patient satisfaction and a decrease in negative incidents associated with patient safety.

The second case I recollect about change was an attempt to accomplish decentralization at the hospital where I work. This experience was not as positive as the first one. In an attempt to delegate tasks from higher levels in a hierarchy to the lower ones, our leader made a mistake. He did not allow enough time for the employees’ understanding of the coming change and did not take care to inform everyone about decentralization to a proper extent.

As a result, many people did not know what functions they were responsible for, and many duties were not performed at all. Two weeks after the introduction of the new system, it became clear that the system had to be improved. The hospital leader performed a thorough analysis of the problem and decided to postpone the process of decentralization.

As can be seen from these examples, even experienced leaders can make mistakes. The important thing is that they should learn from these mistakes and think of the new solutions. Change is a fantastic opportunity to optimize the work of a company. In order to make the most of it, a leader should approach the process of adjustment with responsibility and be ready to deal with probable complications.

Conclusion

Change management is a significant component of success in modern organizations. The process of implementing change requires much preparation and hard work, but in most cases, the efforts are rewarded. The most important figure in change management is the leader. He is the one who analyzes the current situation, predicts change, and comes up with ways of putting it into life. The difficulties that a leader may face while developing change management suggestions are concerned with insufficient time and resources.

The benefits of appropriate analysis of the situation involve higher customer satisfaction and better outcomes for the company. The leader’s role in change management is viewed in four dimensions: political system metaphor, machine metaphor, organism metaphor, and flux and transformation metaphor. Scholars identify a set of features that a leader should have in order to implement change successfully. While there are different opinions, most specialists agree that a leader should be responsible and well-informed, and they should pay attention to long-term goals as well as short-term actions.

Reference List

Cameron, E & Green, M 2012, Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change, 3rd edn, KoganPage, London.

Füller, J 2010, ‘Refining virtual co-creation from a consumer perspective’, California Management Review, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 98-122.

Hornstein, HA 2015, ‘The integration of project management and organizational change is now a necessity’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 291-298.

Kotler, P & Keller, K 2012, Marketing management, 14th edn, Pearson, New York, NY.

Powers, T, Advincula, D, Austin, MS, Graiko, S & Bworn, FM 2012, ‘Digital and social media in the purchase decision process: a special report from the advertising research foundation’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 479-489.

Thoring, A 2011, ‘Corporate tweeting: analysing the use of Twitter as a marketing tool by UK trade publishers’, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 141-158.

Van der Voet, J 2014, ‘The effectiveness and specificity of change management in a public organization: transformational leadership and a bureaucratic organizational structure’, European Management Journal, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 373-382.