The beginning of a new year instils in many of us a desire for positive change. As leaders, we envision positive change in our followers, teams and organisations, as part of our commitment to, and need for, continuous growth and improvement. Change is however a challenge. For many of us the natural reaction is to want to change circumstances, people, the opinions of others, the motivation of others, their attitudes and efforts…the list goes on. These are all external factors in which we want to see an improvement and there is nothing wrong with wanting that. However, there is something wrong in seeing this as a starting point to a turn-around. Real change lies within you, especially as a leader, as Gandhi so wisely advised:
According to Boyatzis and McKee, personal transformation is not at all easy. Focusing on what is wrong around us is a scapegoat, while facing your own shortcomings is hard work. If, however this initial hurdle is overcome, then the rest of the path towards positive transformation is a much smoother ride (not without its challenges, but with fewer obstacles). Overcoming the challenge of personal transformation is one of the key ingredients for resonant leadership, and resonance is contagious. In the same manner, dissonance also travels from leaders to their followers. Therefore, positive changes in an organisation, the office environment, or anywhere for that matter, can only take place if we start at the right point – ourselves:
The end-result of following the above-mentioned process is the ability to radiate resonance: a catalyst towards positive transformation in an organisation. Teams and followers will be enabled to accomplish great things as a result of being inspired and uplifted. However, only a leader’s commitment to sustaining this resonance truly empowers teams. This is a challenge. The stress of being a person in charge calls for being in charge of self, which can be exhausting. After all, resonant leadership involves body, mind, heart and spirit. As a leader you may go through the experience of power stress and the sacrifice syndrome, which is linked to chronic stress. Power stress is an experience that results specifically from “the exercise of influence and sense of responsibility felt in leadership positions.” – (Boyatzis & McKee.) The solution to overcoming the negative effects of power stress and the sacrifice syndrome is ‘The Cycle of Renewal.’ Again, hope plays an essential part in renewal. Along with compassion, meditation and especially mindfulness, one can reverse the negative effects of stress and sustain resonance optimally over time.
Although leadership is hard work, Goleman believes that leadership is a skill that can be developed by ordinary people and that its main goal is to enable and empower others, especially when it comes to change. Richard Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Model can help to successfully achieve personal transformation.
“In the context of executive coaching, leaders can talk about things that they feel pain and passion about – and really get at the core issue for themselves, their teams, and the organization.” – Daniel Goleman
By Tanya Little