From command and control to connection

by | Jul 18, 2016 | Blog

Jenny Perkins, Head of Engagement at Cirrus, considers how to engage people without hierarchy.

Most leaders recognise that command and control leadership is ineffective in our complex, fast-moving and unpredictable world. Despite this recognition, when times are tough, many still revert to telling people what to do.

During periods of change, we know it’s important to take people with you – to help others understand the need for change, to encourage them to take ownership of it, and to develop shifts in behaviour.

Transformation across organisations tends to be most successful when leaders can create a shared sense of direction, purpose and goals, so that colleagues across the business feel deeply engaged.  This more connected approach requires leaders to let go of any ingrained command and control tendencies, which can be difficult for those with a propensity for constant intervention.

Much has been written about why change fails.  The 2013 Change and Communication ROI Survey from Towers Watson found that only 25% of organisational transformation programmes actually succeed in maintaining momentum over the long term and achieving lasting change.

At Cirrus, we see tremendous results from clients who adopt the more connected approach of leading through influence. This relies on effective communication across the organisation based on a consistent set of assumptions and beliefs. Purpose, values and goals need to be widely communicated, discussed and understood. Leaders also need to devolve decision-making responsibility and encourage collaboration.

As I mentioned, all this letting go can be hard. When leaders want the people around them to behave differently, it’s all too easy to become critical and judgmental. In our experience at Cirrus, we find that leaders who adopt a coaching style based on asking pertinent questions and providing support get much better, long-term results. Being a role model for self-awareness and building quality relationships can have a positive ripple effect across the business.

If leaders are going to create a more connected organisation in order to deeply engage colleagues with change, they need to give it their wholehearted commitment. Taking people with you on a transformation journey is a challenge, but one made easier if you believe that it is the right journey in the first place.

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you. Please email us or tweet @CirrusConnect with your thoughts.

Discover more about how Cirrus can help you deeply engage colleagues across your organisation.

 

 

 

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