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Role of leadership in change management

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft’ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

As discussed in the previous section, change can make people feel anxious which can lead to resistance as well as a reduction in morale. Therefore, leaders must be able to sensitively guide their team members through periods of change.

For this assessment criterion, you will critically analyse the role that your leadership has in several areas relating to change management.

Driving changes in service strategy and operational delivery

The leaders of an organisation will be involved in strategic planning, which will set the direction and goals of the organisation and explain how they will be achieved. The strategic plan will be long-term (perhaps a five-year plan) that describes how the organisation will continue to remain sustainable and competitive. Operational delivery is the day-to-day work of the organisation, which should be closely aligned with the overarching service strategy.

Leaders must be able to communicate the strategic plan to others so that they understand the future vision of the organisation and how they fit into the plans. Open, honest and transparent discussion should be used to clarify any areas that are not understood fully and to answer questions.

For example, a change in funding may mean that an area of business is no longer sustainable, resulting in a decision to discontinue it. The leader must inform team members of the decision and why it was made, answer questions and communicate how the changes will affect them. Perhaps the leader may reassure team members that there will be no mandatory redundancies but it will result in a change n job role as staff are moved to other areas of the organisation.

Leading by example – setting best practice

Leaders should role model the culture and values of the organisation, which will include having a positive attitude to change, creativity and innovation. When a leader embraces change themselves, there is a higher likelihood that team members will emulate this behaviour. Communication and transparency are also essential skills. Over time, this will lead to an organisational that welcomes change because team members understand that it will result in better outcomes for themselves, the individuals they support and the organisation.

Incorporating, inspiring and encouraging others to recommend changes in care service provision e.g. teams, those in receipt of care services

Similarly, leaders should inspire and encourage others to recommend changes in service provision. This can include team members, service users and service user’s families.

By letting others know that you are open to ideas and will respect and value their input, people are much more likely to speak up about their own ideas relating to service improvement.

Overcoming resistance and barriers to change

Leaders must be able to navigate resistance and barriers to change.

Resistance is often a result of fear and anxiety about the proposed changes, so leaders must be able to succinctly communicate the reasons for the change and why the decision was made. Often, team members are not privy to the bigger picture, which can make decisions made by senior management seem irrational, so transparency is a key approach to use.

Leaders should listen to any concerns that team members have and be able to reassure them that the changes will result in better outcomes. Any legitimate issues must be discussed and addressed before the changes are implemented. Valuing the feedback of team members and welcoming participation and shared decision-making can help individuals to ‘buy in’ to the change, which will help the process to run much more smoothly.

Business development and related opportunities

Leaders are also responsible for the development of the business. As the environment and market change (for example, due to changes in legislation etc.), the business must adapt to remain sustainable and competitive. Similarly, there may be business opportunities that can be capitalised on, such as new funding becoming available,  tax incentives for certain types of providers or ways to work with other agencies that result in a pooling of resources to provide better value. Senior management may decide to expand into new markets or withdraw from existing ones, which will result in changes to service provision that must be managed.