An agent of change is typically described as “a person from inside or outside an organization who helps the organization transform by focusing on improving organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development.” As a leader in your company—owner, manager, supervisor, etc.—you have accepted the responsibility of helping to guide your organization in the right direction. But what if you see a change in direction that does not seem to be in line with the organization’s goals or mission?
Do you ignore it or go on a tirade? Or do you become an agent of change?
How do you become an agent of change?
The change agent is often someone who has the official capacity to create change, such as a member of the leadership team. But it could also be someone within the workforce who steps up and decides to make things better.
What are the characteristics of an agent of change?
Here are the top five traits a change agent should possess:
- Patient but persistent: Many people get frustrated when change doesn’t happen overnight, and they end up pushing people away from their vision, instead of bringing them closer. Agents of change agents help to make sure that people are moving ahead, even if the steps are slow. The persistence shows up as the change agent takes advantage of any opportunity to help others make those small steps when they are ready and not giving up on them after the first try.
- Strong vision: Although a change agent need not be a person of authority, they should have a clear vision and be able to communicate it with others. People get frustrated when someone is inconsistent with their priorities and changes their views often. It’s difficult for others to buy into your vision if the agent of change isn’t totally committed.
- Leads by example: Those who want to create change must be able to show it to others. It’s not enough to “talk the talk,” they must also “walk the walk.” Agents of change are knowledgeable and comfortable in what they believe and have no problem displaying their convictions through their actions.
- Relationships built on trust: People will not follow and grow unless they trust the person that is encouraging the change. Change agents are approachable and reliable. Your employees should never be afraid to approach you because of your authority. In fact, you should go out of your way to connect with them.
- Asking tough questions: It might be easy to tell everyone how things will be, but that would be your solution, and there would be little accountability to see it through. Your people must feel an emotional connection to changes before they will move ahead. Asking questions based on “What’s best for the workers?” and allowing them to come to their conclusions will give them a sense of ownership in what they are doing.
Are you looking to be an agent of change or to find one?
Either way, we can help. Visit our website at http://www.icrjobs.com.
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