Leading Change

When the #EdBlogNZ June challenge came through I realised with horror that I had not completed a challenge for a couple of months.  Now I know this is not the end of the world, but I had really wanted to support this initiative and the people behind it, by participating and contributing as much as I could.  I really value the opportunities that are presented through Twitter to connect and collaborate, to share ideas, to challenge and be challenged.

The June challenge was presented as a ‘nice easy challenge – topic of your choice’ … so, what’s on top for me?  Well along with #EdBlogNZ, another initiative that I have enjoyed being part of is #ldrchatnz, and most recently I really enjoyed the chat on Leading Change.  I have storified the chat here, but am going to expand on my own contribution in this blog.

Leading Change #ldrchatnz

Q1.  Why is change necessary?

When I saw this question my first thought was that change is not so much as necessary, as it is a given.  As Karyn Gray said ‘To sound trite the only thing we can be certain about in today’s world is that change happens constantly and will continue to.’  I would also add to that that change is not something that is done to us, but a process that we can actively participate in.  Educational change is uncomfortable but we need to keep moving forward – ‘if you’re not on the edge you’re taking up too much room’

Q2.  What are the three most important skills leaders need when leading change?

I believe they are to have empathy, to be bold and courageous, and to take the time to listen.  The ability to understand another person’s position and perspective is critical to getting the best out of that person.  When you are a person leading change you can often feel like a ‘lone nut’; you have know yourself, be yourself and back yourself.  Sometimes it calls for you to be brave, bold and courageous.  To take risks, to be prepared to fail, and learn, and try again.  When people are presented with change they need to have a voice – they need to talk and talk and talk some more, about their concerns, their questions.  As leaders we need to take the time to listen; we need to ensure that everyone has a voice that is heard and that is valued.  We especially need to listen to the people who are finding the change most challenging and most uncomfortable.

Q3.  What do you find the most challenging aspect of leading change?

A3 Sometimes it can feel bloody lonely! #ldrchatnz  

Q4.  What is the biggest mistake you’ve made when leading change?

Making assumptions.  Without a doubt this has been my biggest mistake.  I have made the assumption that just because I value the change, that others will as well.  I have made the assumption that because people have heard the message, and nodded their heads, that they will go forth and take action.  I have made the assumption that because people were in the same room and heard the same message that I did, they will have left the room with the same understanding of what it meant as I did.  And I’m sure there were many many more.

Q5.  What are my tips/successes about leading change?

Give people permission to try, and to fail, and to fix, and to fail again if necessary. Create a culture of inquiry and trust.  Work with the willing, celebrate successes, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Q6.  Resources or readings to support leading change?

This is a list from the people who contributed to the chat:


Q7.  Favourite quotes about Leading Change?

  • “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.”
  • “Change is not hard it is uncomfortable” – Grant Lichtman
  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
  • “We are all leaders, if only to lead ourselves.”
  • “The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” (Maxwell, 2000)

As a footnote, I have been listening to Richie McCaw and Temepara Bailey (nee George) speaking today at a Student Leadership Day #iSportNZ #Believeyoucan.  Both of them spoke about talent vs character – that natural ability will run out, and it is then that you need to be prepared to work hard, ask questions and seek advice, and set goals. #resilience and #perseverance.  Good advice for any leader.


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