Thoughts on Leadership: Abilities and Problems

Introduction

In literature, there is an abundance of definitions of good leadership and examples of being an excellent leader. All these definitions differ slightly from each other, but they have one common point, namely, a good leader has the ability to motivate people to do even those things that seem impossible at first sight. Certainly, in order to do so, a leader must have particular skills. First of all, leaders must have a clear vision of what they are going to pursue. Second, they must have excellent communication skills in order to express their ideas to the subordinates and inspire them to follow (Cawsey, Deszca, & Ingols, 2016). Finally, leaders must be responsive and always take into account the abilities and problems of their followers.

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Organizational Development and Change Models

Lewin’s Theory of Change

Lewin’s Theory of Change is a management model that demonstrates the process of preparing an organization for making crucial decisions. This theory is quite simple and consists of the three main stages, which are called unfreeze, change, and refreeze (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). The unfreeze stage focuses on preparing an organization for accepting changes that are necessary, which certainly presupposes breaking down the status quo before implementing new methods of operating, thereby creating risks for this organization. In this respect, Lewin claims that this stage should be started with the reconsideration of the current values, beliefs, and the general vision of the organization (Cummings & Worley, 2014). He also mentions that this part of the process is the most stressful and difficult, as making changes create periods of instability, which are unavoidable.

The second stage is the change itself. People start resolving uncertainty by means of implementing new ways of operating. In this phase, it is imperative for people to have a strong motivation and belief in a new direction. This stage also requires patience, as extreme changes cannot be made for a short period of time (Hayes, 2014).

The final stage in the process of creating changes is refreezing. When the newly adopted changes have proven to be effective, it is necessary to solidify them, thereby making them the everyday practice of the organization. Additionally, in order to stabilize the process, it is important to focus the employees’ attention on the new changes on the significance of their accurate usage (Hayes, 2014). Thus, despite being created at different times, the theory is still relevant today, and, moreover, most of the contemporary theories regarding this issue are based on it.

Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Organizational Change

Kotter’s Model of Organizational Change provides a strategy consisting of eight steps that lead to a successful implementation of changes within an organization. The first step is creating urgency. When leaders want to implement certain changes in their organization, they should cause the feeling in the employees that these changes are urgent and vital for the organization (Hornstein, 2015). The second step focuses on creating a powerful coalition. This stage involves convincing each person individually that these changes are necessary. In the third phase, leaders should create a full vision for their change and ways of realizing it. At the fourth stage, leaders should communicate their vision and inspire their subordinates to act.

The fifth stage concerns itself with removing obstacles. At this stage, it is important for a leader to consider and eliminate the potential obstacles that can demotivate employees. The sixth stage focuses on creating short-term wins. In this phase, it is important to create a sense of success in order to enhance the motivation of employees (Burke, 2017). The seventh step deals with building on the change. In this respect, Kotter claims that many good organizations fail because they celebrate victory too early. He also states that implementing changes is a long-term process. The eight and the last stage focuses on anchoring the implemented changes in corporate culture. At this stage, it is important to make the change the routine practice so that everybody can quickly get used to it (Cawsey et al., 2016). Overall, Kotter’s model provides a similar but more extended approach compared to Lewin’s theory. Therefore, his model is considered more relevant today.

Change Path-Model

In general, Change Path-Model is the process of implementing changes within an organization following a certain path with predictable results. The main peculiarity of this model is that it focuses on using a particular template in implementing changes. Although at first sight, this model seems ineffective due to the principles of minimizing risks, it has already proven to be successful (Burke, 2017).

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This model consists of three main steps. The first step is setting a direction and creating motivation. The second step is beginning the process of applying changes. Lastly, the third step is making the implemented changes routine (Hornstein, 2015). Overall, this model provides an overview of the most important elements in the process of changing a direction placing a great focus on the psychological aspect of the people involved in this process.

Conclusion

Organizations apply changes in order to enhance the overall effectiveness of their business. Implementing changes is a very long and difficult process that requires much motivation, commitment, and strength from both leaders and their followers. The analyzed models provide a comprehensive description of techniques that will make any process of making changes successful.

References

Burke, W. W. (2017). Organization change: Theory and practice. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Burnes, B., & Cooke, B. (2013). Kurt Lewin’s field theory: A review and re‐evaluation. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(4), 408-425.

Cawsey, T. F., Deszca, G., & Ingols, C. (2016). Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Boston, MA: Cengage learning.

Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Hornstein, H. A. (2015). The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2), 291-298.

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