Over the past few days, I have had several conversations about leading change.
Change can be difficult.
We often consider why change is met with resistance. And for good reason. It happens all the time.
But what about the time when change was needed but never initiated. What about the times when leaders do not even give people within the organization a change to resist? What about the times when leaders choose not to lead change?
Why do they choose to avoid doing what they know is necessary?
Here are a few considerations:
- They are conflict avoiders. They hate the stress of conflict. They hate idea that someone might not like them because of the change initiative. They like to be liked by all. And leading change does not give them such a luxury.
- They fear change themselves. They do not like the unknown. They prefer that things remain as they are, even if they know stagnation is detrimental to the organization.
- They are not informed sufficiently on the issues to lead change. They became complacent with their knowledge of the industry. They stopped learning. They are mentally stuck in a bygone era.
- They think they can pass the buck to the next leader or the next generation. They have decided to let someone else take the hit. They have decided to let someone else lead change. Unfortunately, this thinking almost ensures that their final years in the role will be years of decline, irrelevance, or embarrassment.
- They are in denial on the need for change. They have decided to close their eyes to reality. Reality scares them. So they run from it.
- They are listening to the wrong people. They listen to those who would resist change if it such an initiative took place. So the leader either does not hear about the need for change or is consistently convinced by the group that change will only result in negative outcomes.
- They are in an echo chamber. I wrote about the dangers of echo chambers here. Their ideas are met with adulation, even when they are the wrong ideas.
Leading change is never easy. And because of this, it is sometimes just avoided or ignored by leaders. What some other reasons you have seen leaders choose not to lead change?