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News   September 5, 2023   by Adam Malik

How you lead in times of transformation

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If the makeup of your shop is changing, your leadership style needs to adjust during these times.

A business transformation expert recently weighed in on the leadership traits needed when changes are taking place in your business. Whether you’re moving your focus from internal combustion engines to electrics or changing processes that alter the way staff do their day-to-day business, it takes a different approach, explained Sheila Jordan, senior vice president of chief digital technology officer at Honeywell.

She observed four elements of a transformational leader during the Collision Conference, a technology conference in Toronto that drew in professionals from all sorts of sectors.

First, Jordan noted, is that you have to be inspirational. You have a vision — you have to inspire your staff to see that vision and inspire them to get on board. You have to explain why you’re doing it.

“What’s in it for me? Why should I care?” are questions leaders need to answer for their staff.

Leaders will also need to think about the individual considerations of the people working there.

“Whose job is going to change? What does that look like? How’s the change going to affect them?” Jordan said. “So you have to think about empathy and what the employees are going through.”

Any change is hard, so you have to inspire your staff constantly, she added. “We want to make sure that everyone is on board and you’re moving the organization through this transformation.”

The final piece was what Jordan called “intellectual stimulation. You want to make sure that you’re creative with it, that you’ve set goals and the challenge, and again, create this competitive spirit, that ‘If we don’t do this, here’s what’s going to happen to the company,” she said. “It’s almost like you want to create that competitive spirit.”

Jordan also cautioned leaders that there will be repetition — you’ll be saying things over and over again, almost like talking to your children.

“You got to write the vision, keep communicating it, keep saying, keep repeating it until, of course, it has that traction,” she said.

And when you’ve completed the process, Jordan pointed out, don’t forget to celebrate.

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