My Personal Approach to Leading Change
When I evaluated my personal management style, I identified with Human Resource management most, using the strength of each member to propel the team as a whole forward. When assessing my personal “leading change” approach, it is fitting that I most identify with Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Change Theory, which is also heavily people and relationships oriented. In this setting of leading change within a work-place team, the employees come first, which is also consistent with my sacrificial leadership method that comes naturally. I believe it is valuable to create a democratic environment that allows sharing of opinions safely, to foster creative approaches and new ideas. As a leader, I find it very natural to foster relationships with employees through coaching and mentoring as well. This one-on-one time is necessary in creating trustworthy relationships that can nurture loyalty and intentionality, all leading to a more harmonious environment. The Emotional Intelligence Change Theory also requires a leader to lead by example where I would communicate the vision of the team and lead them towards that vision, showing them how that impacts their decisions and daily work. Some of these elements come more naturally than others, but I see extreme value and joy in utilizing the Emotional Intelligence Change Theory, investing in my employees and the bonds within the team.
I have seen corporate giants like Jeff Bezos use emotional intelligence to spark change in culture specifically. In 2015, Amazon had been ranked 464 out of the Fortune 500 companies in employee turnover, largely coming out of their fulfillment centers. They were known to have difficult conditions to work in and management contributed to the difficult environment through rough and calloused actions. In an attempt to change the culture of their fulfillment centers, Bezos verbally called for a change, encouraged employees to escalate issues to HR and even asked them to email him directly if any employee encountered these toxic management conditions. He communicated that there would not be any tolerance for a lack of empathy. The stance that he took for emotional intelligence and empathy as a leader has completely shifted the culture specifically within their fulfillment centers. I admire the public stance that he took on the subject while making himself as a resource available to any who worked at Amazon.
Although the Emotional Intelligence Change Theory does a great job at explaining the different ways that I feel are important for prioritizing employees for the betterment of the team and leading by example, I believe that a framework for approaching change is necessary for me to work on. Using Kotter’s Change Model in tandem with the Emotional Intelligent Change Theory will allow me to have a clear set of steps in approaching change when tasked with environmental pressures. I appreciate the intentionality of this framework, how it assigns a team of “experts” to lead the change, unifies the team under one clear initiative, as well as engages and enables the entire organization both in the short and long-term in order to make the change stick. Being unified from the outset is one of the biggest benefits I see in Kotter’s change model. I believe that having a foundation of the Emotional Intelligent Change Theory will allow me to set my best foot forward in implementing the specific steps in Kotter’s change model to effectively navigate the uncertain and evolving business climate.