As a leader, you are almost always responsible for some kind of organizational change. Since change is constantly necessary to stay relevant in our world, if you are successful, you lead change well.
Yet how are you at leading your own personal development? Do you realize that internal (self) change is a key to making external change more effective? To be in sync, to accept and embody, and to lead those external changes you must also put your attention on your own self development. If you don’t, your leadership comes off as insincere and inauthentic and has a greater chance for failure.
You might be surprised to learn that there is no better model to adapt for personal change than the wonderfully simple one William Bridges puts forth in his classic book on organizational change called Managing Transitions, and it just might help you to envision what it takes to understand and manage your own personal transition to better leadership:
Ending, losing letting go: This phase is the beginning of the end of your habits and behaviors that are no longer serving you. This is where you might try to hang onto something that you need to let go of by blaming, justifying, or explaining it away. At some point, you’ve realized you must change.
- My suggestions to support your success in this phase: Consider your own team, a good friend, your manager, a coach or a significant other to support you in creating an action plan and obtain their agreement to assist you on your transition to behaviors that will lift you and others up.
The neutral zone: This is the in-between time when you know that the old behaviors are gone, but you haven’t yet fully embraced the new ones. New habits have yet to be automatic, without much thought or effort on your part. This can be a dangerous time when your old ways can work their way silently back into how you lead.
- My suggestions to support your success in this phase: be vulnerable. Let others know your personal change goals and ask for feedback regularly. We don’t always see it when we slip up, but others will. Trust what they are seeing, and go back to your support group to assure that you can move on.
The new beginning: This is the time when you feel energized. Your new behavior(s) run on autopilot without much thought or effort on your part. Funny thing is, others around you seem changed too as you see new purpose and fulfillment in your life.
- My suggestions to support your success in this phase: Celebrate with those who matter to you. You may have forgotten how hard it was to begin the transition and slog through the neutral zone to get where you are today, but when you raise a glass to those around you who supported your journey, it is a “pay it back” moment that solidifies your work and their future support.
The questions that need to be answered to help you on your journey include:
What do you need to transition out of?
What are your personal goals and action steps?
Who can help you?
How will you celebrate your success?