CHANGE Leadership - Know Thyself

'It is wisdom to know others; It is enlightenment to know one's self. "  Lao-Tzu
(6th century B.C.) The Way of Life

Last week in our conversation on Change Leadership we looked at the change curve and the cycle of emotions one goes through during a major organization.  This week we will switch gears a bit and discuss the role of the leader in change.  We will start with an uncomfortable place for many leaders and that is look at our self first.  We need to examine ourselves closely in a mirror.

In support of this critical conversation I looked at myself and understood the need to seek expertise here. As such my dear friend and trusted colleague Karen Davey-Winter will jump in and share her perspective of Change Leadership starting with knowing yourself.   

“There is so much change in our lives today that it’s hard to be an effective leader unless we have some degree of understanding and awareness of our own reactions to change. If we understand ourselves better, and acknowledge that others might react differently, we have a starting point for enhancing our leadership skills. This results in an increased likelihood that the change has a chance of success.
How many of you know your temperament type? Temperament is a derivation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is one of my favorite tools for enhancing self-awareness. I’m going to use this lens to demonstrate how different our approaches to change can be. If you don’t know your Myers Briggs type, look for the description that sounds most like you, and then read the others and see if it helps explain any resistance you might be coming up against when you’re trying to implement changes!
Idealists (INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP) – Change, to whom?
For Idealists change is very personal. Their motto is ‘I’m an NF and I’m here to help’ and so when change happens it must support their value system. They need it to be meaningful, and they want to know who will be impacted. They want to help manage the people impact of change, and their focus is the organizational atmosphere.
Rationalists (INTJ, ENTJ, INTP, ENTP) – Change, why?
For Rationalists change gives them an opportunity to use their analytical abilities. Their motto is ‘why?’ and so change must come with an opportunity for task mastery. They need to see the logical reasons for change as well as a strategy and a path forward.  If change seems illogical, unreasonable or unfair they will resist it, although in general Rationalists (and Idealists) are the types that seek our change, embrace it, even if others think that it may not be necessary.
Guardians (ISTJ, ESTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ) - Change, how?
Guardians need to know how the change will take place, the rationale behind it, and the benefits. Their motto is ‘don’t change what isn’t broken’ and change must bring an opportunity to preserve what works well in the current environment. They prefer incremental change, anchored in current realities. A sense of belonging must be generated and/or preserved throughout the change cycle. They want to know what the plan is, and the step by step instructions to get to the goal. 
Artisans (ISTP, ESTP, ISFP, ESFP) Change, what?
Artisans are all about action, and ‘just do it’ was a phrase probably created by an Artisan. Their motto is ‘if all else fails, read the directions!’ and they need to involved in the change right from the start. They need to be where the action is, and they like flexibility to be designed into the change. They want know exactly what the change is and how they can get involved, now! 
As you read the above, consider what resonates most with you most, and what seems most alien. If you can’t imagine a change needing to be about action, you might have the biggest challenges leading artisans; if it didn’t occur to you that some people are more concerned with the people than the bottom line ROI of the change, chances are that you will need to adjust your leadership style to deal with Idealists. Regardless, know thyself is a good foundation from which to lead the changes in your organization!”    - Karen Davey-Winter, PMP, ACCExecutive Coach/Management Consultant,  www.worklifeperspectives.com

Thank you Karen.  I know from my work with you I am an idealist.  I know from my Myers-Briggs work that Idealists tend to come by our best ideas through a combination of intuition and feeling, so we may have difficulty explaining how we reached our conclusions. We may become frustrated, or even insulted, when others fail to share our enthusiasm and instead want an explanation of the reasoning behind our thoughts. We have to work hard to step back and bring others along to our state of mind.  Especially since inspiration is not a conscious process, the Idealists may not have an immediate explanation, even though their reasoning is sound, and so may feel dismissed and undervalued.  I share this intimate perspective to demonstrate the power of understanding yourself. 

Karen shared a very broad perspective of the effect that your personality traits may have on your change leadership style.  As a follow up she agreed to share two additional conversations in the weeks to come:  Change Leadership – know your team, and Change Leadership – know your customer. 

For more information on applying Meyer’s Briggs to Change Management and Team development please contact Karen directly.  I can attest to her skills and capabilities having reaped the rewards of them during a very large transformation program recently.

Until next time, have a great week!

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