Change Management: The Must-Have Skill of 2021

June 22, 2021 Share this article:

Pieter Ysbrandy, Partner at Leaders Trust / AltoPartners The Netherlands, recently participated as an expert panelist on an AESC BlueSteps webinar titled “Change Management: The Must-Have Skill of 2021

Here we share an extract of the Q&A featuring Pieter, who provides his insights into the pervasive and ever-changing business environment.

What does it take to lead change in today’s modern workplace?

Today’s workplace needs leaders with agility. My practical advice is:

  1. Set short-term goals and implement things gradually with an agile way at looking at change. The speed of current change is dramatic and no longer can you plan with a view of 5 years down the road. You need to plan for now.
  2. Set examples as a leader - you can’t expect people to go along with change if they don’t embrace, or even understand, it.
  3. Have the right change agents in place - have a team around you who have the ability to implement the change you have in mind.

Why is it important to develop change management skills?

2020 was a bumpy ride and a strange year, and leaders’ change management skills need to be on point to help employees better deal with the upheavals. Staff look to leaders for certainty, comfort and support. We are not going back to the “normal” of the past, we are going to continue to live in a rapidly changing environment and leaders need the skills to guide, support and explain the changes to have employees remain productive and the company profitable while maintaining company culture and employee wellness.

What are the top skills or qualities leaders should have?

  • Be people-focused - it is no longer a “command and control” approach, rather now the focus is on putting people first
  • Be an inspiring leader
  • Humility
  • Agile thinker
  • Fast response to change
  • Think through things carefully, but not slowly to avoid change management initiatives failing
  • Solid understanding of the business mission / vision
  • Become an active ambassador for the solution
  • Have a clear, concise communications skillset
  • Lead with authenticity and transparency
  • EQ matters - be aware of employee mental wellbeing and transitions taking place to help guide employees through the transitions
  • Build trust
  • Adopt an empowering leadership style
  • Involve employees in the transition

Have skills changed since the pandemic?

The skills required pre-pandemic are still important, however as the changes are now coming at a rapid rate and faster than before, I believe:

  1. More emphasis should be placed on the need for change to ensure the business doesn’t go bankrupt
  2. Communications skills are even more crucial as teams work remotely

How should leaders showcase their change leadership skills?

  1. walk the talk - actively strive to achieve the goals set out and follow team objectives
  2. take care of staff members - be helpful, patient and guide them through the change

To listen to the full recording of this webinar, click here.