Models for Leading Change

In this article we briefly introduce 5 models for leading change within the organisation. Learn about them and put them to use so you may become a more effective and rounded leader.

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Large scale sustainable change needs strong―emotionally intelligent―leadership to succeed. In this article we introduce five models for leading change. No single model is right. However, they all have something valuable on offer and can help us to navigate our way through complex organisational situations or circumstances.

Models for Leading Change

The models for leading change give us a lens through which we can see our personal situation in a new light. They help us to develop our mental map of the world―whether that concerns a situation, project team or organisation―and create options for dealing with those difficult circumstances we inevitably encounter in our daily lives. Common themes from each model are

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

These attributes are found in well-rounded and effective change leaders. Those who are aware of their emotional make-up, are sensitive and inspiring to others, and can deal with day-to-day problems without getting distracted from the change they are introducing. But remember this: they are the map not the territory. Therefore use them with care and use them to help interpret a particular leadership challenge or situation.

The models for leading change are

  1. Leadership that Gets Results AKA Daniel Goleman’s Golf Clubs
  2. Situational Leadership (Hershey and Blanchard)
  3. Framework for Leadership (Fullan)
  4. Agreement and Certainty Matrix (Stacey)
  5. Transformational Leadership (Alimo-Metcalfe)

Leadership that Gets Result

Daniel Goleman popularised emotional intelligence and used insights from his work in this area to identify six styles of leadership.

Goleman imagines these styles as a set of golf clubs which scratch players―players who can on average complete a round of golf with a score of par―know instinctively when to use at the right time to get the best result.

Golf Club Style in a Phrase Impact of Style When to Use
Affiliative People come first. Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds. To heal rifts in a team. To motivate people during stressful circumstances.
Authoritative Come with me. Mobilises people toward a vision. When changes need a new vision. When a clear direction is needed.
Coaching Try this. Develops people for the future. To help an employee improve performance. To develop long-term strengths.
Democratic What do you think? Forges consensus through participation. To build buy-in or consensus. To get input from valuable employees.
Pace-Setting Do as I do. Now. Sets high standards for performance. To get quick results from a highly motivated and competent team
Coercive Do what I tell you. Demands immediate compliance. In a crisis. To kick-start a turnaround. With problem employees.

Situational Leadership

Hershey and Blanchard observed that leadership consists of two types of behaviour

  • Directive – clearly telling people what, how, when and where to work and closely monitoring performance
  • Supportive – listening to people, providing support and encouragement, and engaging them in problem solving and decisions

The four leadership styles depicted in the model for leading change combines these behaviours with high and low scores to give leaders choices for dealing with different situations―and to identify personal preferences.

They categorised all leadership styles into four behavioural types

  • Directing – characterised by one-way communication in which the leader defines the roles of the team or individual
  • Coaching – the leader provides information, direction and support to sell their message and get buy-in
  • Supporting – the leader works with the team and individual and shares decision-making responsibilities
  • Delegating – the process and responsibility for decision is largely been passed to the team or individual

Framework for Leadership

Michael Fullen's framework for leadership model.

Framework for Leadership

Michael Fullan developed this model after observing change in education and business. It consists of three personality characteristics―energy, enthusiasm, and hope―plus five core components of leadership

  • Moral purpose – making a positive difference
  • Understanding change – dealing with resistance; transforming organisational culture
  • Relationship building – improving relationships yields improved results
  • Knowledge creation and sharing – embodying the learning organisation
  • Coherence making – balancing creativity with common sense

Fullan argues that real change is messy and the presence of the five themes plus commitment results in more success.

Agreement and Certainty Matrix

Ralph Stacey's complexity matrix.

Dealing with Complexity

Ralph Stacey argues that many leadership models are characterised by stability and predictability. That is, rational decision-making is the norm.

In contrast, this model assumes that most modern businesses operate in a fast-paced world where a different set of skills and alternative processes are needed. In this context a higher level of interaction with those involved in implementing change and those affected by change is necessary.

Transformational Leadership

Transactional leadership or management is concerned with the day-to-day operations of business.

Transformational leadership―first introduced by James MacGregor Burns and extended by Bernard Bass―is about visionary leadership that has a positive unifying effect on people (also see Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model.)

Leading and Developing Others
Showing genuine concern for others’ well-being and development; coaches and mentors staff
Empowers; delegates; trusts staff to take decisions; develops leadership potential; involves others in decision making
Being accessible; not status conscious; approachable and sensitive
Encourages change; encourages critical and strategic thinking; encourages new approaches and solutions to problems
Personal Qualities
Being honest and consistent; openness; more concern with organisation than personal ambitions; acts with integrity
Intellectual versatility
Risk taker; entrepreneurial; decisive when needed; prepared to take difficult decisions
Inspires others; inspires others to join them; visionary; exceptional communicator
Resolves complex problems; capacity to deal with wide range of complex issues; creative problem solver
Leading the Organisation
Networking; gains confidence and support;achieves organisational goals
Focuses on team effort;
Builds a shared vision; communicates the vision; sensitive to the needs of stakeholders
Supports a development culture; supportive when mistakes are made; encourages critical feedback
Facilitates change; manages change sensitively and skilfully

Beverley Alimo-Metcalfe identified a number of factors that differentiate transformational leaders from transactional leaders. How do you score?

Using the Models for Leading Change

The art of leadership is in having a number of approaches to a situation and knowing when to use the right one. These models can help us become much more rounded and effective leaders. I find that reflecting on each model and thinking about what they have to offer helps me make more conscious choices when faced with difficult situations.

For instance, Hershey’s and Blanchard’s model may be used to identify a preferred style―your own or that of the organisation―and the implications of this. Goleman’s model leads us to think about the benefits of changing our approach. Whereas Fullan highlights areas that are missing. And Alimo-Metcalfe inspires us to be transformational leaders.

Creative Commons image courtesy Iñaki de Luis.

Last updated 5 May, 2014 Share the knowledge …