By M. Isi Eromosele
In order to deal with change in a fast paced, interconnected global business world, a leader must have a most important attribute, flexibility. An open minded leader is an adaptable leader who will lead his/her company towards new opportunities.
When things change or even go wrong, a flexible leader should not get upset or frustrated. Instead, this leader should explore the change and opportunity for the benefits they might contain for his company.
Superior leader maintain calm and resolve when unexpected scenarios occur. They need to relax, think objectively, analyze the situation and consider various options. They should keep their emotional equilibrium by asking questions and seeking information, even as they seek solutions to unanticipated problems.
Effective leaders deal with change by focusing on getting relevant facts before reacting. They initiate a process that slices through the uncertainty and ask open-ended questions that seek to produce pertinent answers.
A superior leader focuses his/her attention of the vision for the future. When an unexpected change or event occurs, the leader need not change his focus on the future, even as he/she tries to adapt to the change that has occurred.
A leader can greatly improve their ability to deal with change by focusing their attention on the future, and by seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. They should not waste time and energy looking for someone to blame or criticize. They maintain their performance at their best by maintaining focus on their desired vision for the future.
The critical issue for dealing with change is that of maintaining control. Maintaining control in any particular situation is vital to enabling a leader to relax as he/she leads his team through the necessary adaptation to change.
A leader’s locus of control is where he/she feels the control is located for a particular problem that needs to be resolved. A leader with an external locus of control feels that he/she is controlled by forces outside of himself/herself.
When a leader has an external locus of control, he or she feels a high degree of stress. And with an external locus of control, a person is very tense and uneasy about change of any kind. This type of individual would not make an effective leader.
A leader with an internal locus of control enjoys a high degree of self-determination. He/she feels that they are very much in charge of any particular situation. They accept a high degree of responsibility and they believe that everything that happens has a reason for occurring. Such an individual would make a highly effective leader.
Since the only thing over which a leader have complete control of is the content of his/her conscious mind, their ability to deal with change begins with their taking full, complete control over the things they think about.
Since change is inevitable and continuous, it is how a leader thinks about what is happening that is most important in determining how change affects him or her, and whether they use it to their advantage or let it work to their disadvantage.
It is apparent that we fear change more today than ever before, and for less reason. The reason we fear change is because we are afraid that we will be worse off as a result. No one fears change that implies improvement.
A true leader’s aim is to become a “change master,” to embrace change, to welcome change and to ride the tides of change. They can do this by taking control of the direction of change in their lives and ensuring that it is predominately positive and toward improvements their desire in their vision for the future.
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