Robert Lindquist observed, “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
The real need for courage emerges when leaders say the present is no longer acceptable, our current world is changing and we’re changing with it. It takes even more courage to say we’re changing before the world changes.
I’ve been a change agent a few times. It feels like riding a roller-coaster. Moments of calm are followed by moments of terror. You think it’s over but it isn’t. Frankly, change isn’t for the faint of heart.
Disruption creates uncertainty and stress both in you and your constituents.
Dr. Robert Anthony said, “Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” However, feeling the need for courage may reflect lack of preparation.
If you’re always going around like a lion, perhaps you need more preparation. Winston Churchill wisely said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
The need for courage dramatically declines when leaders prepare people for change.
- Explain what is and what isn’t changing. Stabilize an unstable environment by focusing on values. Yes, methods may change but it’s rare that values change.
- Listen to fears and address fears. People want to see how they fit into the new future. Some are afraid they won’t succeed. As soon as possible, explain new roles and responsibilities.
- Provide resources. For example, provide training before, during, and after organizational change.
- Be transparent with your own concerns and how you are dealing with them. Don’t just say, “I’m concerned.” Say, “I’m dealing with my concerns by getting support from others that have gone through similar transitions.”
The more you prepare the less courage you’ll need.
How can leaders prepare themselves and others for change?
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