Essential Personality Traits of Successful Change Managers

What Makes a Good Change Manager?

Change is inevitable. Organizations that can successfully implement change are able to stay relevant in today’s dynamic world, while those that fail to do so will eventually disappear. But change is not easy. The process of change is fraught with challenges. As published in the Harvard Business Review, 70% of change initiatives fail. How can an organization turn this statistic on its head?

If we consider change management to be a continuous process of planning, organizing, and leading change to meet a particular goal, instead of a one-time effort, then we realize that an organization must have the right person who can lead change management efforts. It’s essential for leaders to be game-changers.

We must also remember that people resist change because they don’t want to give up what they know and are familiar with, and there’s a fear about the unknown.

This begs the question, “What leadership traits are the crucial change management attributes?”

Identifying change management core competencies

Leading through change is a complex practice. It requires the ability to build cohesive teams, inspire followership, and deal with people’s deepest insecurities. Successful leaders in change management are those who possess the change leadership skills needed to lead teams positively into the unknown.

Yet, the importance of personality traits is often overlooked when hiring for a leadership position. However, it is important to take this into consideration before ever considering someone as a viable candidate ─ and to frame these requirements into the environment of continual change.

Here are nine of the most important leadership skills for change managers.

  1. Adaptability 

An effective change manager has the adaptability to change their strategy and methods to suit the situation. They can be flexible and use different techniques for different people.

  1. Empathy and emotional intelligence

Emotionally intelligent people can identify their own emotions and those of others, use this information to guide their thinking, feeling, and behavior in constructive ways, and they can recognize how their emotions may be influencing others. Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings. Put the two together, and it’s a powerful combination when leading a team through change.

  1. Inspiring

Effective change managers are inspirational individuals who have a good understanding of the change process and how to guide those people affected by it. They have a deep understanding of their organization, its culture, and its people. They know that they cannot force change on others, but instead, they need to provide a clear path for people to walk on their own by motivating them to do so.

  1. Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm allows change managers to vary their approach, plan, and make sure that they are prepared for any situation. Enthusiasm also makes it easier to approach people and convince them of the need for change. It is this that helps people believe in the manager’s vision and helps the manager to stay committed to change.

  1. Confidence and decisiveness

Confidence and decisiveness are two of the pillars that help leaders guide lead teams through change. Confidence is being sure of what you want to accomplish. It helps you to believe in yourself and your abilities. It is what will keep you going when things get tough. Decisiveness is defined as being certain about your opinion, which makes decisions clear-cut. 

  1. Critical thinking/problem solving

In the face of a changing world, critical thinking and problem-solving are important skills for change managers. Change managers must be open-minded, and good at recognizing patterns and connections, using both intuition and logic to gather insights and make effective decisions when problems arise ─ and they will.

  1. Learning/self-development

The best change managers are always learning. Often, avid readers continuously strive to gain a better understanding of their industry, business, and people so they can generate ideas for change.

  1. Creativity 

Creativity is a set of abilities and attributes that can be harnessed by a given individual to generate, evaluate and implement innovative ideas in different domains.

Creativity can be broken down into two components: innovation and artistic expression. Innovation helps us take the concepts that we have been introduced to and rearrange them in a new way. Artistic expression helps us create something from nothing, which is what we want from a change manager who needs to generate innovative ideas for a company or organization.

  1. Vision 

Vision is a key characteristic of effective change managers because it allows them to stay focused on their goals, while still being open-minded. It also helps them recognize when something needs improvement.

Vision is more than just a slogan or a vision statement. A good vision should be distinctive, inspirational, and compelling. It is this vision that helps the change manager to articulate why the change is necessary and what it will achieve.

Continual development of leadership skills creates exceptional change managers

The continual development of leadership skills is what makes an above-average change manager become an exceptionally good one. In this era of continuous change, it is the continual development of a manager that makes an average manager into an exceptional one. The kind of manager who improves work satisfaction, motivation, and productivity. The leader who inspires engagement in change and the collective vision for the future.

Do your managers possess the characteristics of a change manager? Are they effective communicators who inspire their teams to continually improve, and who motivate their employees to engage with continuous change?

To learn how our leadership coaching programs help to develop the skills needed for effective and successful change in an uncertain world, contact Primeast Forward Focus today.

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