Two high profile strikes have been announced recently, one affecting BA (which has already started), and the other Network Rail. While the details of the disputes between the Unions and their employers is not in the public domain, it is clear that the main issue is the Management plans to change existing working practises.
However, leadership is about pressing for change, as no organisation can stand still in today’s rapidly changing environment. It is also therefore quite high risk, and very challenging for those involved, as the industrial disputes demonstrate.
But change that transforms organisations demands that people give up the things that they hold dear – the old habits, the working practises and loyalties that they have become used to over a number of years. People will only give these things up if they understand that there is a possibility of a better future without them. Leaders must therefore provide a clear vision of the future, and inspire and motivate people to take them to a place that they perhaps didn’t think they could get to.
The capabilities that leaders need to achieve these things are not simply found in a text book. Leadership can be quite high risk, and also very scary, but pressing for change is what good leaders do – they transform organisations to enable them to grow and thrive, and not wither and die.