Emotional Intelligence: Organizational Change by Adaptive Leadership


Emotions in Organizational Change

What exactly is the change? What skills does a real Leader need to lead through the change successfully? Change is restructuring, re-evaluation and rebuilding of company values, leading through emotional resistance loyal to old customs, guiding through the distrust, confusion, mis-understanding and disagreement. All these emotions might drag you backward and you might end up fixing and even defending your old strategic path. But this is not exactly what you need to do as a leader if you are committed to win.

The power of leadership is creating something new not fixing something old. (Dan Rockwell)

Defending,  fixing and preventing – are approaches that drag you backward and distract from your real goal. So, what emotions will move us forward? As per LeadershipFreak, it is anger, fear, frustration and disappointment, but first and foremost it is Gratitude as opposite to Arrogance.

 “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others,” Cicero.

It is this emotion that motivates you to move towards the future, to create it, and release the past. Gratitude fuels excellence.

How to adapt organization to the changes? Adaptive Leadership steps

Organisational Adaptation

Organisational re-structuring and adaptation

According to Daniel Goleman, What Makes a Leader?, by HBR, there are specific steps that every Leader need to undertake. Meanwhile, the emotional environment of every step is not always a positive one.

A Leader need to Confront Loyalty to Legacy Practices what makes him a target of attack. To distinguish the essential from the expendable is important for eliminating ill suited practices to a changing environment. Ask yourself: What is so precious and central to organization’s identity and what must be left behind?

Instead of creating Grand Strategic Plan, a Leader needs to create and run numerous experiments. The weaker strategic routes will fail, and the rest will help to create “zigzagging path” that will be emblematic for company’s ability to discover better products and processes. It also will help in building the spirit of flexible strategy.

As you move the teams to an environment of uncertainty and turbulence, it is important to maintain the right level of disequilibrium. And it requires to depersonalize a conflict. Thus, the focus will be shifted from the interested parties to the specific issues. This task requires a Leader to act politically as well as analytically. Through looking behind the merits of an issue, using “helicopter view”, will help to understand the Interests, Fears, Aspirations and Loyalties of the factions that have formed around it.  A Leader must be a Conductor orchestrating conflicts and negotiating among various interests.

Courageous conversations, constructive dialogues – this is a culture that will assist a Leader in a period of sustained uncertainty when the most difficult topics must be discussed. To set the tone for candor and risk-taking by Executives, to protect those who provide crucial insights – are one of many issues to be considered and ruled by a Leader.

Responsible distribution of Leadership – one of the main tasks for individual Executives that will replace hierarchy and formal authority with organizational bandwidth drawn on collective intelligence. Through sharing the burden with people operating in diverse functions and locations, by pushing responsibility for adaptive work down into the organization, Leader clears space for Strategic Thinking. It will allow him to think, probe and identify the next challenge on the horizon. In order to achieve this, mobilize everyone to generate solutions by increasing the information flow leading to better communication. fostering independent decision-making, sharing the lesson from innovative efforts.

Diversity is very important, and leveraging diversity is easier said than done, because we tend to spend time and surround ourselves with like-minded people. But engaging the widest possible range of views and life experiences is vital as it allows to reduce risk facing the business internally and externally through a nuanced picture of the shifting realities. 

Related Posts: 

Emotional Intelligence Part 3: How to lead through an unexpected crisis? 

Emotional Intelligence Part 2: How important is emotional environment for a successful leadership? 

Emotional Intelligence Part 1: How emotional are you in making tough business decisions?