A few months ago, I was reading John P. Kotter’s best selling book Leading Change as part of a group assignment in my workplace. Kotter’s eight-stage process for managing organizational change sparked lively discussion. Our leadership team spent time considering our organizational challenges and how we might apply the eight stage process. But what is affecting my life now is how to manage leading change while undergoing personal change. Leaders who are experiencing major life change such as chronic illness, death in the family, divorce, pregnancy/birth of a child, etc. while leading an organization through change are facing special challenges. How can a leader manage personal change while leading his team through organizational change?
Here are a few aspects of leading myself through personal change that I am learning as I care for my chronically ill mom. I am learning to:
1. Embrace the change. Approach personal change as a time of learning, growth, and expanded opportunity.
2. Practice Optimism. Cultivating an optimistic point of view is beneficial overall. According to a longitudinal study of Harvard students over a 35 year period, optimists were significantly healthier than pessimists throughout life. Optimists tend to be more resilient when difficulties arise, believing that they will be able to overcome.
3. Accept Help. Whether its hiring a housekeeper, an extra weekend babysitter, or allowing your friends to cook meals for you, accept the fact that you need extra help. Managing life during personal change takes extra mental and physical energy. Save your energy for major tasks and decisions.
4. Trust your team. Your key team members have been an asset to you in your organization. Trust that during your time of personal change they will still maintain excellence in all they do.
What are some of the ideas you have learned while leading yourself through personal change?
“Nothing endures but change.” ~ Heraclitus
(photo credit: Linda P. Freeman. Changing Orchids. May 4, 2013. Flamingo Gardens, Davie, Florida.)