Change Leadership versus Change Management

In today’s world, where change is inevitable, the big question is between change leadership and change management. According to Harvard professor and leadership guru Dr. John Kotter, America’s corporate focus should be 70% for leadership and 30% management. 

However, Europe and America’s education system predominantly gears towards management. Their focus is on developing managerial mindsets in people. The primary goal is to keep things running, maintain the status quo, and avoid hazards.

Management associates with:

  • Staffing
  • Regulating
  • Budgeting
  • Planning
  • Problem-solving

These essentials contribute to the success of a company. However, the primary management focus cannot move people forward. That’s because the main emphasis is keeping things the same and reducing complexity. Today’s organizations are over-managed and encounter less leadership. But the fact is that leadership brings a change to a company and not management.

According to Harvard professor Dr. John Kotter, you cannot interchange the two terms change management and change leadership. What differentiates the two is very significant. Change leadership focus on urgency and chasing big dreams, while change management is about maintaining the status quo.

Change leadership associates with:

  • Removing barriers
  • Vision and strategy
  • Inspiring people
  • Motivating action
  • Getting buy-in

Change leadership focus is on a group of people intending to achieve something. The primary goal is to empower everyone across all organizational levels to concentrate on achieving the big vision.

The entire world is putting more effort into executing change management. There is less concentration on change leadership. With the current increase in change rates, 70% of large-scale change efforts fail. Therefore, there is a critical need to lead change.

What makes change leaders successful?

    1. Inspire employees with vision. An excellent change leader comes up with a plan to guide the organization’s future. Change leaders inspire employees to accept change instead of resisting it. They understand, anticipate, and handle employee concerns in their vision. 
  • Outline the strategic plan. Change leaders put life in the vision by sharing with the rest of the organization the plan that will help them accomplish the change they want.
  • Effectively communicates with employees. Change leaders continually update the rest of the team on the plan progress, any adjustments that need to happen, and the achievements to celebrate so far. The communications need to be two-way. Employees need time to express their views about the plan and what they think should be part of the plan.
  • Sustain long-term energy. Change leaders are aware that to achieve a vision, you need to avoid backtracking and maintain momentum. Some leaders even conduct regular surveys to understand employee mindset. That way, they develop ways to overcome challenges they may encounter in the change process.
  •  Provide support. Change leaders ensure that all organization levels have the skills necessary to assist and coach employees. So that everybody can work towards the achievement of the set vision.   

Key takeaway

Companies that accept change are in a better position to grow and achieve their vision. Many concentrates on a change management method that focuses on maintaining the status quo and avoiding hazards. To take your organization to the next level, you need to focus on change leadership. That way, you will empower employees at all organization levels to work towards achieving the big vision.


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