How To Lead Yourself Through Change

Taking a team or an organisation through change is an experience. However, not many see it like that. Especially low performing leaders who use traditional “management” styles of micromanagement to push their people through change.

When you push people through change, it is a poor experience. Highly effective leaders treat change as an experience. They lead from the front, buy-in to the change first, and then lead their people through that change.

Over your career, and your time leading a team, would you say you have developed yourself to become a better leader? Have you developed yourself in the area of leadership and how to lead people (character)? Or, have you developed yourself in the area of management and how to manage people, processes and things (competency)?

Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. You are well aware now that we can only lead people, we cannot manage people.

The reason that most people in leadership positions prefer to manage people rather than lead people is because, management is easy, and leadership is difficult.

1. Who Do You Think You Need To Lead First?

To lead others and to help them grow, you must first lead yourself, and work on yourself every day so that you grow. Be honest with yourself. Do you lead yourself, and work on yourself every day?

Have you accepted the responsibility to help develop each individual on your team in the area of leadership (character)? Do you take the easy way out and manage your people instead of lead them? Do you only develop them so they are able to do the job (competency)?

If you want to strive towards becoming a highly effective leader, then you need to embrace a new way of thinking. You must help yourself and your team to experience a new kind of change. By embracing a new way of thinking, it will be your role to help your people to embrace a new way of thinking too.

You must constantly be developing yours and your team’s minds. As you work on developing minds, you are freeing up space in the mind to also develop new, or continuously improving old processes. Experience a dramatic change in your team, and keep going.

2. Motivating Yourself And Your Team

From now on, if you want to implement a new idea, change, or process, you will need your team to buy-in to you and the idea, change, or process, and what the benefits are. To get your team’s buy-in, you need to inspire them and motivate them.

If you have been managing your team rather than leading them this is going to be a lot more difficult. You need to change your way of thinking first. You must lead yourself, and motivate yourself before you can motivate your team.

We have discussed how difficult it is to get a team to buy-in to a new change. As you are aware, most teams will resist new change because they are not bought in, and do not want to change. So make it as easy as possible for yourself. Only when you have bought-in to yourself and the new change, can you lead your team to do the same.

With me writing this article, my other articles, and creating my other materials, I am trying my best to inspire you and motivate you to buy-in to me. As you are reading this article, it is my role to help you release the potential you have to become a highly effective leader.

I want to set you down the right path on your journey to becoming a highly effective leader. When you release this potential, you can then help your people to do exactly the same as you, and set them on their journey to becoming highly effective leaders.

3. Are You A Manager Or A Leader?

At this moment in time, does your team follow you because they want to (leadership), or do they follow you because they have to (management)? Again, be honest with yourself. If you want your team to buy-in to your idea, change, and your vision, then they must first buy-in to you.

If they buy-in to you first, then they are following you because they want to, and you are on the right path to actually becoming their leader. If they do not buy-in to you, then you unfortunately are not their leader. You are just someone who is filling the leadership vacancy.

It took me a number of years while being in my first couple of leadership positions to figure out why some of the changes I wanted to implement, did not work…They did not buy-in to me first.

I wasn’t working on myself every day, so I wasn’t leading myself first, and I wasn’t really buying-in to the change first. It felt almost like bringing in change, just so I could say I brought in change.

After I had spoken with my mentor, and he helped me to realise that I needed to get the team to buy-in to me first, I knew exactly what to do. I needed to change the environment. I needed to create an environment that encouraged continuous improvement for ourselves, not just our processes.

I needed to lead by example by working on myself, and then helping my team to work on themselves and develop. Only when I did that would the team buy-in to me, and eventually I could lead them through the change.

With this website and my articles, I am creating an environment to help you continuously improve yourself. I am not creating an environment to help you continuously improve your processes. Continuously improving yourself is a part of your personal growth, and is a personal growth principle.

When we focus on continuously improving our processes, we are expecting to improve our results. Now, we need to change how we think of continuously improving ourselves. We need to get comfortable, and believe in the process that when we continuously improve ourselves, we can also expect to improve our results.

4. What Is Your Mission As A Leader?

A highly effective leaders mission is to inspire their team, and motivate them to continuously improve. Make it your mission to do the same.

Low performing leaders focus solely on the results. They do not focus on the people at all, unless they want them to do a certain task. So they will arrange for them to learn the new task, but will not help their people to develop their character and leadership.

Low performing leaders don’t even focus on developing their own character and leadership either. All they are interested in is using their people to make themselves look good to the leaders of the organisation. I know this because I have been manipulated many times.

It is a horrible feeling when you know you are being manipulated. That’s how you can tell it is a manipulation because it is a feeling that you have that something isn’t right. But, I didn’t say or do anything about it because I didn’t want to upset my boss, or “rock the boat” in any way.

So, I just got on with it and let myself be manipulated. However, after a while I needed to snap out of it and think differently. I needed to believe in myself a lot more. I needed to lead myself better.

I needed to work on myself so I wouldn’t be manipulated again. I needed to become a highly effective leader, and have respect for myself and my people.

Highly effective leaders lead their people through their strong character, and they have integrity. No matter what kind of environment they are working in, they truly stand up for what they believe in. They will never let themselves, or their team be manipulated.

They will never manipulate anyone else either. Even if the senior leaders of the organisation are low performing leaders, a highly effective leader will not allow any kind of manipulation happen.

Most of the organisations I have worked with have had traditional leadership team setups. Their senior leaders focus on the results, not their people. The senior leaders do not have respect for their people because they don’t develop their people.

I tried my best to ensure that the team I led did have those opportunities to develop, and did not follow the norm. I know this because I respected my people, and we worked on ourselves, and developed ourselves every day.

It is easy to tell if your leader respects you, or if they don’t respect you. You can feel it. You can tell whether they are being genuine, or being fake.

When I lead a team, I do my best to make sure that they feel that I respect them. I do not want them to feel that I am being fake. When I know that my team feels that I respect them, I can also feel that they respect me.

When respect goes both ways, that is when I find it easy to help them develop themselves, and we can achieve great results together. Respect both ways is what highly effective leaders focus on and count on.

If we want to get things done, then we should focus on doing. Not focussing on talking about doing, or planning to do. Just do it!

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

14 thoughts on “How To Lead Yourself Through Change

  1. Hi Tom,

    Firstly, I have to say I wish I had a resource like your website about 20+ years ago.

    I always saw myself as a salesperson during the formative years of my Banking career, although my superiors had other ideas for me.

    I was often told that people would naturally gravitate towards me, would always listen to me, to follow me, and that I’d make a great leader.

    However, once the role was thrust upon me in my mid-20s I lost all sense of being a leader and turned into a manager.

    It took me quite a few years (of bad management/leadership) to finally realise that my role was more about inspiring, motivating, and improving both my team and myself, rather than focusing simply on “targets” and “results”.

    I thouroughly enjoyed this, a great read.

    Thanks
    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      It’s great that you thought you could use my resources a few years ago, I’ve had a number of people say that.

      Thank you for sharing your story of working in a bank, I’m glad that this article has resonated with you and the experience you had when being a manager. It is difficult to be a leader if you are not receiving any leadership training, and your leaders are managing you rather than leading you. So it sounds like you didn’t really have any role model or example for you to follow.

      Now you realise that, you can change it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. To be honest with you I think I might be more of a management personality as sometimes I feel like I have to insert myself into the mix instead of leading from the front.

    An example of a true leader I had was about 5 years ago his name was Mike, when he came to work everyday he had a workflow sheet at the spare parts counter so everybody could see what had to be done.

    He didnt micromanage everybody but the work always seemed to get done because he led from the front working just as hard as the rest of us.

    No surprise he was promoted to middle management he was one of the best managers I have had.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that this article resonated with you.

      Thanks for sharing your story of Mike who you hail as a leader and not a micromanager. It’s great that you have had a role model who you can follow and try to emulate when you are with your people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Integrity and standing up for what one truly believes in is something I respect and admire most of all in those who have those attributes/traits. There is a saying that goes, “Stand up for what you believe in…even if you stand alone!”

    When I tell people I’m going to do something, I do it. It weighs on my shoulders if I don’t do it.

    Good post, great tips.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thank you for your comment. Really appreciate it.

      You are right, standing up for what we believe in is really important. I would say though, if we can bring people with us and influence them then it is a lot better for them and us.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. If you want to be a leader you should respect people and have a lot of knowledge and experience behind you, so that these people can believe and consider you a leader. My humble opinion. I worked at a company for 16 years where half the bosses didn’t know how to do the work they were meant to do, and as such, rarely anyone respected them, and as saddest of all they were still rude and arrogant. At the end of the story, the company went bankrupt. Anyway great website an your posts are filled with great info and overall you seem to be a person which people can trust.

    1. Hi Tom,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your story of working in your company with the bosses you had. I have had very similar bosses too, so I know how you feel.

      Respecting others is first and foremost if you want to receive respect in return. When it comes to knowledge, if you know where or who to get the knowledge from, that is more important than having it in your head. Experience is important, but we must use that experience as an example for our followers. Not keep it bottled up within ourselves.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi Tom,

    I find your posts extremely useful and full of very practical advice. In a company which I worked few years ago, we went through an ownership change and even the company brand got change. All aspects of the company went through big changes.

    But now when I recall, we did not have proper leadership guidance through that process. It was just management, we did what we were asked to do.

    Looking back, the end result was good. Probably, only the logo and marketing material changed, everything else remained the same. Non of the internal processes or previous mistakes were changed. Even the management remained the same and few years later, the company almost went bankrupt and was acquired by another.

    So, proper visionary leadership through a critical change is an absolute must.

    Thank you for another great article.

    1. Hi Rajith,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the company you worked with a few years ago. You are right, visionary leadership through change is absolutely critical. We need to know where we are going and WHY. The why to a change is so important, so keep that in mind.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    1. Hi Brendaliz,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you understood the article.

      If you need any further help or advice on the article or my other articles then please get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. I have got some very important points to action from reading this. These include remembering to lead myself, work on myself, and grow!…embrace new ways of thinking before expecting my team to do so. Most importantly my highlight from your article is the question ‘am I a manager or a leader’ food for thought. I most definitely will be re-reading this again – thank you for this level of quality content.

    1. Hi Ola,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      It’s great that you are going to take action on what you have learned from the article. When you do start to take action, let me know how you are getting on, and if I can help you in anyway, I would be honoured.

      If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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