5 Attitudes You Must Embrace To Lead Change

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I started out speaking at a conference by holding up an envelope for everyone to see. On the back where the words, ENVELOPE FOR SALE $40.00. I told the audience we could not continue with the session until someone bought the envelope.

A few people asked what was inside, I didn’t tell them. After a few minutes a gentleman in the back of the auditorium came walking up while fumbling through his wallet. He handed me a $20.00, a $10.00 and two crumpled $5.00 dollar bills and I handed him the envelope.

He started to walk back to sit down and I told him to come up on the stage and open the envelope in front of everyone. Slowly, reluctantly, he made his way to center stage. I asked him to open the envelope and show everyone what was inside. He ran his finger along the envelope, tore it open and pulled out a piece of paper with a picture of Benjamin Franklin on it.

The trepidation on his face left immediately. He just stood there smiling and looking at his new $100.00 bill realizing he just made one of the best purchases of his life. Pay $40.00 get $100.00! I’m sure all of us would have made the same purchase if...yes, if we knew what was inside the envelope. However, there is that one little component that stops all of us from making those investments and it’s called risk. This true story reminds us of an important truth.

You will never be able to lead change unless you shift your thinking
from what you will loose to what you will gain.

If you are truly willing to spend the time, effort and energy to lead your team, your church, your company through change and you can shift your thinking from what you will loose to what you will gain then let me offer a these five “Leadership Be-Attitudes” when leading change.

One: Be Authentic
There is a fine line between authenticity and revealing all your emotions all the time. Leading change does require each of us as leaders to hide our panic from time to time. Have you ever been in the midst of changing something and thought, “This just ain’t gonna work.” Me too. But, we can’t “loose it” in that moment. We must be authentic but we must also be composed.

"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT. Share openly with your team but don’t loose it openly with your team.

Two: Be Different
As soon as you announce that change is coming you will have different reactions from different people on your team. Some will be all in without asking a question. Some will want a full briefing outlining every step. Some will feel overwhelmed and discouraged and some will not want to pay the $40.00 because risk is not part of their nature.

So, how do we lead each of these personalities? Answer, differently. Leadership is not a one faceted way of doing things. A good leader takes people where they want to go and ought to be but a great leaders takes people where they don’t want to go but ought to be. We want to be great and that requires each of us to be different, see different, lead different just like Paul reminds us to do in 1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT.

“When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.” Remember to meet individual needs to make your overall goal successful.

Three: Be Strategic
Success is achieved by leading change, not waiting for it. Occasionally teams stall in their attempt to make a change because we have not helped them to make the move from understanding to implementation. The question we need to ask is, “How do we bridge the gap from understanding to implementation?” Here is a simple four step process to help us as leaders move our team from understanding to implementing.

Know The Way (I know what needs to be changed)
Go The Way (I go the direction I have mapped out)
Show The Way (I show my team the way we are going)
Flow Away (I flow away and empower others to continue what was changed)

We are all made differently. Different abilities, personalities and experiences but if you are a leader, you have a role to play. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT

Who is the “their” in this verse? The team leader, me, you, that’s who.

Four: Be Positive
It’s hard to accomplish a revolutionary change without seeing progress. Help your team be successful and feel successful by creating short term wins so they can experience what success feels like. If your team doesn’t know what success looks or feels like how will they know when they have achieved it? Let them experience small intermittent wins so they keep moving to the final victory when change is complete.

Leading change is hard enough. We need to be positive and keep an upbeat spirit. If not for you then for your team. If you feel a negative attitude sneaking up on you, you know, one of those “This stinks, I hate leading change, I can’t believe what that person just said to me or understand that negative note from Mrs. Anonymous, I quit, I’m out, I’m sending an email…” Get the picture?

When that moment comes. Put yourself in time out. Go for a drive. Get some ice cream. Put your positive self back on and head back into the trench and keep going because, “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” Proverbs 17:22 GNT

Five: Be Aware
When leading change always be on the lookout for others who can help you accomplish it. There are some people who are naturally wired to lead change. They embrace change and posses a certain flair for thinking differently, challenging others to do their best and provide encouragement along the way. With that in mind here are 7 ways to identify someone who can really help you lead change.

1. They have a leadership past
2. They grasp vision
3. They get things done
4. They love responsibility
5. They offer constructive solutions
6. They are relentlessly persistent
7. They incite others

Although the above list of seven traits are good for leading change we are reminded of an important attitude as we ask people to be on our team. “The master may get better work from an untrained apprentice than from a skilled rebel.” Proverbs 26:10 TLB

Are you willing to risk $40.00 for $100.00? Are you ready to shift your thinking from what you will loose to what you will gain? Me too! Lets change something today!

From the five attitudes we talked about which is easiest for you or comes most naturally to you? Mine is italicized. (One: Be Authentic; Two: Be Different; Three: Be Strategic; Four: Be Positive; Five: Be Aware)

Are you getting ready to lead any change in the immediate future? Please let me know, I would love to pray for you and answer any questions you have while you are leading a change that will change lives.

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 157176650 Copyright: TijanaM