Book News: May 22nd, 2014

In this book Melanie Franklin describes what needs to be done to create the right environment for change.

Relationship building skills are critical to the success of change; change managers need to be able to work cooperatively with individuals and groups who emerge as the change progresses and are not easily identifiable at the start.

Understanding the community involved in the change is an important early step in our change activities, but it is one that we need to regularly repeat. This continuous ‘scanning’ of our environment helps us find more people with whom we need to build relationships, ensuring that we are involving them in the change initiative as valuable team members, clarifying their role and giving them clear direction about what is needed.

The purpose of many of our relationships is to persuade people to work differently. Change cannot be forced upon others; each person has to decide for themselves whether it is in their interests to do things differently. The role of the change manager is to positively influence people’s view of the change, by demonstrating your own commitment to it and the advantages that others would gain from it.

Our ability to influence others is based on the strength of the relationship that we have with those we are asking to change. Do we appear to have integrity? Can we be trusted? Do we demonstrate the personal characteristics that make others want to follow us? In a situation in which you are asking others to work differently, you are establishing yourself as the change leader, irrespective of your job title or position of seniority. It is the personal characteristic of trust, integrity and empathy that are the foundations of your leadership ability, and which determine the breadth of influence that you have.

Relationships are a product of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to monitor our own and others’ feelings and use this knowledge to define our thinking and actions. We look at how to develop our emotional intelligence to be able to lead ourselves and the steps involved in building relationships with others.

In order to build effective relationships with others you need to combine analytical thinking with emotional intelligence derived from personal awareness and personal leadership skills.

Analytical thinking is important to identify who you need to build relationships with and to assess what your current sphere of influence is and who else you need to include to help you implement the change.

Emotional intelligence is important to use the knowledge about ourselves to demonstrate empathy and build connections with others and appreciate the level of power and influence that others have in relation to the change.

This analytical and emotional thinking forms our empathy with others. The emotional intelligence developed through personal awareness and personal leadership helps us to develop empathy. Empathy is the understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives and understanding of the emotional currents and power in relationships. It is created when we demonstrate that we are as interested in the concerns of others as we are about ourselves. Others will be willing to build a relationship with us if we are able to demonstrate our appreciation of how the change will affect them and we can involve ourselves in helping them to address their concerns.

Published by Kogan Page. ISBN: 9780749470982. £34.99