The roles of leaders

In a change programme people take on additional roles. Agents of change are those with a responsibility for achieving changes. They may work at any level in an organisation and usually work to a senior manager who has the authority to allocate budgets, time and enable the changes to take place. Along with change leaders and agents, other people play their part. Beyond the organisation, stakeholders such as governors, funders and patient groups must overtly support the changes as decent could undermine them.

The end users of the service will participate in the changes and should benefit from them but they in turn may need to change the ways they access the service and use it, in order to realise the benefits.

If change leaders are to be effective they must recognise the responsibility they have and the personal commitment that is required. They legitimate the changes to their peers, subordinates and colleagues and in turn seek approval and recognition from their managers.

Key leadership behaviours

  • Give positive but realistic messages about the changes
  • Recognise the difficulties individuals may face in making the changes in discussion, face to face meetings and other communications
  • Model desired behaviours
  • Acknowledge the concerns of subordinates and take concerns forward to senior managers and give feedback to those raising concerns
  • Contribute to problem solving

Committing to the change

Back to the Managing change page