Change Brings Discomfort – Even to Leaders
I have a challenge for you today. Take your watch off the wrist on which you normally wear it, place it on the other arm and leave it there for the rest of the day. How does this feel? Count how many times during the day you look at the arm where you normally wear your watch, only to find that it is no longer there. Even this most simple of changes is uncomfortable to fully incorporate into your life. Since you’re reading this, you probably realize how difficult change can be on a scale much larger than wrist watches.
Change is not possible without discomfort, and because of this, great leaders keep their people uncomfortable. The most successful leaders also keep themselves uncomfortable. It is the job of the leader to improve the condition of their organization or the causes for which they are working. Improving something means creating change. Whether it is improving a process, implementing a new idea, lowering costs, improving quality or taking customer service to a level that challenges just about everyone in the organization, change is uncomfortable.
Before leaders can be successful at improving organizations, they must first take a look at themselves and identify ways in which they must change. The following 6 tips will help you become more comfortable with the discomfort caused by realizing that in order to lead change, you must first be able to change yourself.
Crystallize your positive vision. Because you see yourself as someone who is able to lead others through change, it only makes sense that you will be leading the way in implementing the change. Also, when you have a positive vision, it will overcome the obstacles and hurdles that present themselves along the way.
Set goals. A goal is something you want to improve or accomplish, preferably written with a specific timeframe. To accomplish goals, you have to change the way in which you currently spend your time, energy and resources. This is why most diets fail. Most people are not willing to do things differently over an extended period of time because they don’t have the vision and are not willing to deal with how uncomfortable the change is to incorporate permanently into their life.
Think possibilities. Any time you think about a situation and resolve, “There is nothing more I can do,” you limit your ability to change and carve out a way to keep yourself comfortable. Instead, ask yourself something like, “What could I do to help our team take the level of service to a place that would WOW our clients?” This opens up a lot more possibilities which can create positive change.
Get excited and move. The average life expectancy for men is 75.7 and for women it is 80.8 years. Most people do not like thinking about their own death but when you realize that you are on this Earth for a limited time and the countdown is on, it makes you want to implement actions a little quicker, including accomplishing the goals on your bucket list.
Acknowledge your weakness. Everyone is really strong at something. Some can sell, others can build businesses and still others are outstanding at managing a process or efficiently completing tasks. But, everyone has weaknesses that hold them back from rising to their full potential. Understand your weaknesses and challenge yourself by pushing past them. If we only did things that we are comfortable with, we would never grow. Discomfort equals growth. When it comes to implementing change, it almost always means there is going to be a conflict somewhere… because change is uncomfortable. If you are not comfortable resolving conflict and working on your weaknesses, you won’t reach your potential. What is your weakness?
Celebrate your successes. When you incorporate new changes into your life, some are going to work successfully and some will miss the mark. Keep a list of the successful changes you make in your life, and the goals you have achieved in a place for quick reference. You are not going to be remembered in this life by the number of times that you fail, but by the number of times you succeed. Focus on your strengths and celebrate your successes.
It is difficult to get others to change if you, the leader, don’t first personally change. By following these six tips, you will find it is easier to lead others through the uncomfortable parts of change because you are the role model for what you are asking others to do.