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    Leadership & Team Advisor

    Improving Leadership ROI through daily leadership and team development practices. Mark McCatty, Inc - Leadership & Team Advisor
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    The Slower Pace of Change

    A frequent conversation with managers recently is that of dealing with change. There is a great deal of frustration among organizational leaders, and money wasted by these organizations when implementing good, well-meaning change. Yet it seems that even when the change is clearly beneficial – like keeping employees safer – there is still a significant force of resistance to accepting and implementing the new changes.

    Rhetorical question: Why would someone refuse to follow rules that will keep them safer?


    What we know about change is that somebody will resist it.

    ~Mark McCatty

    In interviews with thousands of managers and supervisors for over 2 decades they most frequently say that a challenge to accepting change is, “not being a part of the change effort”. These managers can see clearly that [at least for them] change is hard if they are not a part of the change effort. Could this be at least one answer to our dilemma? Let’s just involve people in the change that they are about to experience. Easy right?


    Involving versus Intrusive

    There is a difference between being an involved leader [involving others] and being an intrusive leader [dictating to others]. USMC Maj Carleton Forsling describes [in a recent article in the Marine Corp Gazette] the tendency for some leaders to be intrusive and to simply dictate without being an involving leader. He calls this weak leadership. The response of the intrusive leader [who is inclined to dictate actions without engaging] is to abdicate responsibility when failure occurs: “They told me they were not going to do that anymore.”

    Even in the area as rigorous as employee safety [and changes that occur] there needs to be more involvement and innovation.  Interestingly, in recent remarks, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, stated that “compliance is not always enough”. These are stimulating sentiments expressed from OSHA.  During the NACOSH meeting in June he said, “Compliance with OSHA standards are the minimum requirement, but oftentimes employers must go beyond what is legally required in order to effectively protect their employees.

    When employers focus primarily on complying with regulations, they develop a static, rigid safety culture, rather than one that is dynamic and constantly learning and improving, able to respond to changing conditions and hazards.”

    The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.

    The great teacher inspires. -William Arthur Ward

    It Takes Commitment to Change

    If leaders want to take their organization to new, better places it takes commitment. If managers want their employees to embrace and implement change, it takes involvement. That means that the leadership must have a vision for the change [well in advance of its implementation]. They must begin to share the vision as they begin to formulate the change. And when the change is top down, management must be aware of the social challenges, and operate in ways that demonstrate respect [for the individual and for their experiences] in order to achieve more positive change outcomes.

    Sure, it is easier to dictate and direct the change. It is clearly more efficient. Yet, efficiency is not always best; not when there is a better option. Dictating change, without consideration for the employee is not a more effective option. The most effective change implementation requires involving employees and allowing them to help implement the change. That does take more time. But this extra time is well invested.

    Management can do something as simple as structure an employee team to review the proposed change, describe the challenges to successful implementation, and define alternatives [and improvements] that will ensure [greater buy-in and] better outcome results. This approach not only gains involvement, it also develops technical competencies [through shared learning within the team] and better still it develops ownership and leadership at the employee level.

    Higher leadership skill levels, more maturity and motivation within the employee workforce do not come quickly. It does not come from intrusive, dictatorial leadership styles. That is, however, the slower pace of real, lasting change, though.

    Where are you most impatient for change to occur? What can you do to involve and engage others to help with the change? What obstacles do you face with your leadership style?

    Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor


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    As a leadership and team advisor, I have helped numerous organizations, through speaker presentations, group training, and individual coaching, to meet the challenge of creating engaging and purposeful work environments. 

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