There’s Only One Kind of Leadership: Change Leadership

A few weeks ago, a savvy business investor asked me why we created Outside Angle. I explained that while lots of really talented people and organizations help people plan change, very few focus on helping them to actually make change. After considering it for a moment, he asked why we use the word “change” so much. His experience was that people are afraid of change—so why build our business around a word that people don’t like? How about “growth” instead?

All You Need Is Change

The funny thing is, I really can’t imagine shying away from change. What if we embraced change not as a challenge to conquer, but as an opportunity to grow and evolve? The fact is any organization that wants to thrive in the long term must continually evolve to remain relevant and healthy.

At Outside Angle, we believe that every meaningful undertaking—whether growing a business, leading a nonprofit, or landscaping a yard—is an exercise in change. Changing other peoples’ behavior, changing our own, or changing that of an entire group or organization is at the heart of the biggest opportunities before us. So when we think about what that means for leadership, we conclude there really is only one kind: change leadership.

It’s our belief that success in any leadership endeavor depends more on one’s ability to lead change effectively than it does on subject matter expertise, personality, or any other factor.

What Makes a Good Change Leader?

At its core, change leadership is about moving forward together. It’s not just about driving individual change. Rather, it is about building effective teams that can navigate the complexities of change together. The role of a change leader is to ensure that the team has the essential relationships, processes, and capacity to to do the work required to realize the vision.

Fostering Strong Relationships

Effective teams are built on trust, collaboration, and open communication. As a change leader, you must foster an environment where team members feel safe to share their ideas, challenge the status quo, and collaborate with one another. Building strong relationships within your team creates a foundation for successful change implementation.

Clear Yet Flexible Process

Change is not a linear journey, and it often requires adaptability and flexibility. A good change leader helps their team build a clear but flexible process that can accommodate unexpected challenges and opportunities along the way. This means providing guidance and structure while allowing for creativity and adaptability in problem-solving.

Supporting Continuous Learning

Change often brings new obstacles and requires continuous learning and problem-solving. As a change leader, it is crucial to support your team in their learning journey. Encourage a culture of continuous improvement, provide resources for learning, and facilitate opportunities for reflection and knowledge sharing. Effective learning allows for timely problem-solving and empowers your team to navigate obstacles with confidence. At Outside Angle, we leverage change cycles to help foster learning and organize intentional change intervals.

All Leadership Is Change Leadership

Whether you’re an experienced leader or just entering the workforce, you will have to navigate change. Moreover, you’re going to need to lead change wherever you are in your career. It may be true that the organization you’re in is still averse to the c-word, but learn to embrace it now and make it your super power. Change is inevitable. If you want to be a great leader, make yourself a change leader.