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Championing Change

Most people would agree that change is inevitable. While this is the case, most people probably have different ideas of what changes should be made and how they should be carried out. The most effective leaders are known to have the ability to communicate ideas of change, prepare their people with strategy and insight on what to expect, and successfully implement the new way of doing things.

Championing Change involves leaders, the ability to engage their team, build support, and take responsibility for a change that they consider to be a progress point in their organization.

The Assess Personality Survey measures several innate traits that can have an impact on how effectively leaders initiate and implement change within their organization. Our research and experience have shown that five key personality characteristics, or scales, have an impact on this competency:

  1. Assertiveness

    Are your company’s leaders direct and insistent enough to initiate change, or do they have a more laissez-faire presence? How could these styles affect their ability to successfully implement change?

    Leaders who are quieter and more reserved when it comes to dealing with coworkers are usually those who others regard as being a good listener or an easy person to work with. This is a good quality to have in an employee, but when it comes to pioneering change in a leadership position, these people might be uncomfortable standing their ground when oppositions are voiced by others. These leaders may lack the confidence to take a personal obligation to see their initiative through to the end.

    The ideal levels of assertiveness a leader needs in order to champion change fall in the high range for this scale. Leaders found here not only demonstrate the confidence to take charge of a new strategy, but also the desire to do so. Showing this type of interest in a change they feel is for the better of the company helps leaders engage and gain the support of their coworkers who are affected by the change in question. Because they display confidence during a time of transition and uncertainty, their peers are put at ease, making the process much smoother.

  2. Work Pace

    When your company is in the midst of a change in strategy, will your leaders have the energy and efficiency to keep the team engaged in the transition as well as maintain day-to-day work responsibilities? Or are they unable to operate effectively in high-energy situations?

    Leaders who prefer a slower, more unhurried work pace may be effective at working through long periods of unvarying tasks. Often seen as persistent performers, these people function best at a steadier pace. Meeting deadlines could be a weakness seen in those who fall on the low range of this scale, since leaders with this trait could be uncomfortable working at a faster pace. This could make taking charge of a change initiative difficult.

    Change, by nature, is dynamic. An operation is being transformed or redirected so that a company runs more efficiently. Having taken the personal responsibility to implement this change, a leader is faced with more tasks to complete on top of everyday duties. Leaders who enjoy working at faster paces and have high amounts of energy may find it easier to maintain multiple objectives simultaneously whilst nurturing the change implementation.

  3. Frustration Tolerance

    Not all changes in company strategy come without a hitch. Oftentimes hiccups occur, and the way the leaders at your company handle these setbacks could affect whether or not they have the resilience to power through complications and champion change.

    One of the first steps after leaders research and decide on a plan for change is to hash out the details with the other decision makers of the company who are affected by the change. Once implementation begins, some things may go wrong. In these cases, when obstacles arise, leaders who fall on the low end of Frustration Tolerance may be unable to persevere through oppositions and could have difficulty getting the strategy back on track after a bump in the roadmap.

    Leaders who show higher resilience are more likely to remain positive when faced with challenges or struggles that accompany many changes within a company. They aren’t easily discouraged, helping them sustain a confident outlook on their strategy.

  4. Realistic

    This scale in particular touches on the idea that too much or too little of something can be bad. Are your leaders able to balance imagination and innovation with practicality and sensibility? At what point do these traits cause problems for leaders trying to enforce change?

    Leaders who fall on the low end of this scale may be great at imagining possibilities. They may think outside the box and are open to new ideas and innovation. This helps when the leader is brainstorming ways to improve the company through change initiatives. The downside to landing on the low end of this scale could include leaders coming up with impractical ideas and their tendency to focus on how things should be, rather than on how things are. Very idealistic, these leaders may not take the most realistic route when deciding on a change.

    The extreme high end of this scale may have negative consequences for those in decision-making positions. Often dominated by practicality, leaders here may have a more difficult time brainstorming and thinking abstractly. These leaders are usually uncomfortable with the unknown, so they tend to make decisions based on previous experiences, limiting progress and innovation quite a bit.

    The ideal range for leaders to land in is the middle of this scale. There should be a balance of sensibility and creativity. Being too realistic hinders progress since imagination and new ideas foster change, and being too much of a dreamer might make leaders develop goals that are unattainable, no matter how great they may be. A certain amount of practicality is required in order to keep leaders’ creativity and vision in check.

  5. Serious-Minded, Restrained

    Much like the Realistic scale, maintaining an evenness of risk and caution when carrying out an organizational change is essential in a leadership role. Do your leaders make quick judgments they later regret, or do they over-deliberate when making business decisions? Whether or not leaders exhibit these traits could affect the way they go about creating and managing change.

    Those who don’t show much restraint are likely to be impulsive and spontaneous.Leaders who fall on the low end of this scale have a better ability to make quick decisions. Sometimes though, they are quick to decide on something when more time should be taken for deliberation. They may reinforce the idea that it is better to make a decision now rather than miss an opportunity. When deciding on a course of action for a change in strategy, these leaders are quick to choose a path and may not think through their decision and how it affects the company in the long-run.

    With a high level of restraint, leaders may show behaviors such as overthinking and taking things too seriously, hindering their ability to commit on issues even when an immediate action is needed. These leaders are usually uncomfortable making choices that they don’t get to sleep on for a bit. They need more time to familiarize themselves with an idea before making a decision. Leaders in this range are less likely to take risks, which, in a situation where change is needed, might prevent them from choosing the best option for the company.

In order to successfully implement change in an organization, leaders must be comfortable enough to make quick decisions, but without losing their ability to fully think through and weigh their options. Leaders who take enough time before deciding on a choice, but who are not so cautious that they’re too timid to make one, have the right levels of restraint to make the best decisions when changes need to be made.

Because these five scales give insight on how comfortable people are during times of change, they help give clues about how well leaders can initiate, engage in, and implement a new idea and if they can keep a positive, goal-driven, and sensible outlook throughout the process.

The fact is, you never know what form change could come in or how long it takes to carry out. Oftentimes, people won’t agree with the change initiative. With this uncertainty comes the need for leaders to persevere through opposition, engage the team to on-board new strategies, and display confidence and persistence when things don’t go as planned. These traits ensure that organizational changes are put in place in the most effective and successful way.

Where do your leaders fall within this competency? When a big change occurred in your organization, how did your leaders handle the transition?

To learn more about using competency models to predict success, download our Competency Spotlight eBooks for Corporate Managers, Retail Managers, or Restaurant Managers.

The Competency Spotlight series focuses on the personality traits measured by OutMatch assessments, and how these traits impact performance. No one measure can say with 100% accuracy how an employee will behave, but considering these competencies can help you identify candidates that are ‘prewired’ to be successful in a particular job type.

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