Leadership and Change Management

Change within a project, program or organization is unavoidable and requires effective leadership to facilitate the change management process (Eisenbach, Watson, and Pillai 1999). Ineffective change management will result in the project program or organisation not achieving their stated objectives. Recent literature found that over two thirds of change initiative were not successfully implemented, these failures were attributed to a number of causes ranging from lack of planning to incompetent leadership (Burnes and Jackson 2011). Additionally Gill (2002) suggests that change initiatives fail due to lack of trust in leadership resulting in poor employee performance. It will be demonstrated that critical components to successfully implement change management is for leaders as managers to overcome resistance to change and to be trustworthy. The focus of this paper will be on why organisations change, the problem with change, how leadership is important for change and how trust, a consequence of transformational leadership as defined in Bans’s Theory of transforming leadership affects leaders as managers.

Change needs to take place if the organisation or project is to survive and keep up with new innovations and technology (Burnes and Jackson 2011). Boaz and Fox (2014) found that change is required to implement a new growth strategy or business unit structure within the organisation, incorporation of a new procurement or implementation of new improvements. All these reasons focus on altering the organisations current systems and structures and introducing new policies and process. Abrahamson (2000) concurs, organisation will always go through some sort of change policy or process, that oscillates between big changes and small change and will ultimately pave the way for change that will benefit the organisation. Change can be viewed as a process where the organisation or a project will be transformed from its current state or policy to a new improved future state or policy. During this transformation process, problems or resistance will be encountered, the only way to address this will be through an effective leadership. Change management is therefore about leadership and how to overcome problems or resistance to change (Gill 2002).

Most leaders as managers would rather not deal with the practical problems that will help the employees understand the changes required but instead they are more concerned with the abstract process of change (Ahn, Adamson, and Dornbusch 2004). The problem with abstract processes of change is if it is not effectively implemented it will provoke resistance from employees who don’t fully understand the need for the change resulting in organisational chaos (Abrahamson 2000).  Waddell and Sohal (1998), also found that employees were resistant to change however it was attributed to employees wanting to maintain the current situation despite the need and urgency to change the current situation. They believe that resistance is always present in any change initiative and that resistance will introduce delays, costs and instabilities. Another cause of resistance are emotional traits, these include dislike of forced change, absence of self-confidence and confidence in employees, managements reluctance to deal with problems, lack of respect and trust in the leadership Gill (2002). Gilley, Dixon, and Gilley (2008) also agree with Gill (2002) in that change is about leadership and state that the main factors in effecting change and eliminating the problems that come with change management is the leadership within the organization…

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