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If the leader does not change, neither will the companies (keys to transformation)

If the leader does not change, the organization does not transform. It's that easy.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If the leader does not change, the organization does not transform. It's that easy. Millions can be invested in incentives, consulting, internal proposals, methodologies of different kinds that try to promote teams; However, if the vision of the leaders does not change, it will not be possible for your company to do so.

The leader is the main agent of change; the manager, promoter; the one that stimulates, motivates, guides, defines and carries out the new vision that you want to achieve.

As all transformation implies a transmutation between the old models and beliefs towards something new, its role in the process is indispensable. In Latin America, companies, governments and organizations of all kinds fill their mouths talking about soft skills, modernization and reconversion. Yet very few embrace it with the true depth it deserves.


Thus arises the figure of the genuine "change agents", leaders absorbed in their role - regardless of the position they occupy - and who make decisions, act and face the present with a vision of the future. Each of your thoughts is focused on projecting that desired state to which you want to arrive.

What is an agent of change?

The change agent's essential mission is to permanently provoke and generate actions that promote a transformation from the old to the new, thinking about the desired future.

It works directly with and between people, which has a direct impact on culture and processes. Some ways he takes it forward:

  • It is a collaborator that arises within the organization.
  • You have to be empowered and in line with the leadership (otherwise you get frustrated and disappointed by not being able to move forward).
  • Make an impact with your example and your actions.
  • It is who drives, drives, promotes and develops practices that are in line with the desired future of the organization.
  • Hold a vision, if you believe in it.
  • It is alert to deviations and proposes adjustments and corrections.
  • Understand that change and transformation are deep and are processes.
  • Act through attitudes continuously.
  • Promotes permanent improvements.
  • It drives the adjustments to be made in a determined way, and sustains them until the course has been confirmed.

Why do leaders sometimes say that you have to transform, and are not agents of change? Basically for:

  • Beliefs and limitations: he lives very aware of the past in the company, how things were done and it is difficult for him to move from those paradigms.
  • Ego: his word is indisputable in many cases; it is difficult for him to dialogue; he is a poor communicator and has difficulty reaching consensus.
  • Comfort: it is especially perceived in vertical organizations; there is little commitment on your part. He does a "staging" of the transformation, but does not get deeply involved.
  • Apparently he delegates: he does not do it in depth, and entrusts his managers or bosses to manage the change; he doesn't really get involved.
  • Professional incompetence: you do not have a deep understanding of the basic skills to lead your team.
  • Fears: fundamentally internal, such as the fear of failing, ridicule, making mistakes, failing.
  • It slows down processes: delays decisions, commits to something and does not comply, gives an indication and then contradicts or denies itself.
  • Not knowing: this leads to your inability to open up and ask for help.
  • Unconsciously competing with others: not wanting to be less than your team in charge.
  • Inability to transform their lives (if someone cannot transform themselves, they will be less able to do so in their company, country, etc.)

The central problem is that, if the leader is not an agent of change, any project of organizational transformation tends to fail in the medium and long term.

How to become an agent of change

To become an agent of change there are some characteristics to follow that can be incorporated through daily practice, training, coaching, conversation spaces and appreciative dialogues, conveniently articulated in continuous programs, since it will not work if it is done sporadically:

  • Develop the ability to be a visionary in your field.
  • Generate small actions sustained over time that cause a real impact.
  • It works directly with each collaborator, stimulating and unlocking their potential.
  • It is trained in making quick decisions that make processes more fluid (the uncommitted leader has a marked difficulty in doing so).
  • It bases the decisions that are made. He holds them and listens.
  • Create bonds of trust.
  • He is close with people: he listens, he helps to solve problems.
  • It makes bridges of trust to move in unknown territories.
  • It establishes lasting bonds and is responsible for sustaining and strengthening them on a daily basis.
  • Supports others in times of difficulty and frustration.
  • Always look at the area for improvement in any area.
  • They develop advanced emotional intelligence, especially in aspects related to their productivity and high performance.
  • He is a very good communicator, maintaining his personal style. He fluently transmits his ideas and reasoning, with the addition of emotional balance.
  • It has a transcendent sense: he knows that what he does benefits not only him, but the entire organization.