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Change-oriented leadership is flexible and ready to make adjustments that are called for—whether that be by employees, bosses, crises or new market demand. However, too many changes at once, without regard for a company’s goals, can be disadvantageous. Leaders should be flexible, but make changes only with much thought for the impact those changes will have on the group.
You may have noticed that certain companies or groups seem to be on the cutting edge in the services and products they offer, or the activities in which they participate. Chances are, these groups are led by change-oriented leadership. A leader who is change-oriented is one who is not set in his ways; instead, he challenges the status quo, investigating what new goals the group can try to reach and coming up with innovative ways to reach those goals. A change-oriented leader is also one who is ready to adapt the group’s way of doing things at any given time, in response to market demand, employee feedback, or an emergency or crisis situation.
There are many advantages to change-oriented leadership. A group led by a flexible leader does well with crisis management. Whether a natural disaster occurs, or there is unexpected violence in the workplace, a change-oriented leader responds to the unexpected happenings in step, and implements necessary measures to deal with the crisis. Another advantage of change-oriented leadership is that these leaders respond well to valuable input from workers or members of a group. If employees or members of a group see an area where change would advance their productivity, a change-oriented leader is ready to try a new way of doing things. Finally, change-oriented leadership is always ready to adjust focus to meet new demands, such as for a new product or service.
When leaders are making frequent changes in policy and practice, employees can get confused. If there is not frequent clarification of new goals and ways of doing things, members of the group can become frustrated and disillusioned by too many changes. Also, because a group’s goals are often intertwined, the decision to make a change in one area to improve the chances of meeting one particular goal might undermine the achievement of another goal. Being change-oriented demands that a leader be well tuned in to all the goals of her company, so that she can be wise about changes and understand their implications before making them.
As a leader, it is important to be change-oriented. Societal changes, preferences of members of the group, and new information based on increased knowledge all demand that a good leader must be willing to learn and to change. At the same time, a good leader should make sure that the group keeps in step with change so that they do not become overwhelmed by the changes taking place. He should ensure that the changes being made do not undermine any of the group’s key goals.