Leadership is not for everyone and even those who are very good at it will face discouraging trials in the midst of the seemingly simplest of efforts. Leaders must continually be aware that perspective is everything. There are no no-brainers.
My role as coach and organization effectiveness consultant is focused on leadership, which has at its core the ever-present need to acknowledge and create action around change (even if the action is to ignore it). Nothing is stagnant really. Even time standing perfectly still is an act of change and leaders must anticipate or react to influence the outcome toward the common good.
While not wishing to stir the debate of whether change can be controlled or managed, I do advocate change management in the sense that I believe a controlled process that helps people deal with change is a positive thing. Leaders play a large role in this process. They must support the process if not the change itself (in the case where change is not an option) and they must be involved in communicating the messages.
Communication is one of those areas where things get sideways quickly because what we think we said is not what others heard; again, perspective is everything. For that reason, change managers work with leaders to craft appropriate messages and to ensure the messages are delivered at appropriate times throughout the process.
Is this really necessary? Aren’t some things just obvious? Consider the following story:
There’s an old sea story about a ship’s Captain who inspected his sailors, and afterward told the first mate that his men smelled bad.
The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally. The first mate responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”
The first mate went straight to the sailors’ berth deck and announced, “The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.”
He continued, “Pittman, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Witkowski, and Brown, you change with Schultz.”
Change will happen. Be vigilant in your attempt to manage it though because without intentional, well-considered effort, you might end up with a worse version of the same thing.