6 Ways to Influence Change When You're Not In Charge

Some leaders hate change and some even struggle with it. For many, change is hard and they tend to cling to the traditional and the status quo for a sense of security.

As long as everything seems to be alright many see no need to change and it can be a struggle to get them to understand something if their livelihood depends on them not understanding it.

What's interesting to me is when a leader can see the end is near and see all of the signs and still won't change. Trust me I've worked with two leaders like this.

You may know a leader like this and you're now at the point where convincing them that it's time to make some changes has become impossible.

I know... Been there, done that.

You can see the positive results it can have on the group or organization and when you think about it you get all excited and full of energy. Like I said, I know! Been there... Done that.

Many times you will feel powerless trying to influence change with a leader you disagree with. If you're not careful, you'll become their enemy and everyone around them will begin to look at you like you are the enemy. 

Let me encourage you, "Be not dismayed at their faces".

This happens to thousands of God fearing believers who only want the best for their leaders and those they lead.

So what do you do?

Here are six ways to influence change when you're not the Head Person In Charge.

  1. Think Like a Head Person In Charge. 

    The best way to do this is to imagine how you would feel if you were the person others looked to for leadership and those you lead want change. Imagine the pressures and the unique challenges leaders face both real and made up.

    This will require you to pray for them. Ask God to help you understand and see where they are.

    Ask Him to show you how to approach them with this issue, and that he or she will see that you mean them no harm.

    Trust me there is a lot going on up there in their heads including what changes might look like to those in their inner circle.

    If you do this, you'll begin to understand things about your leaders that may surprise you. Some good others not so good. 

    Some of the challenges and obstacles could be that leaders own personal views, convictions and opinions on the matter.

    Some of which will be influenced by generational naivety and personal insecurities.

    Nevertheless, now you know and can approach the issue with empathy and understanding. 

    If the leader is wise and savvy, they will realize that you're not just talking, but have thought it through and know what you're talking about. In this case, they are more likely to hear you out and consider the matter. 

    When you think like the HPIC you're more likely to persuade the HPIC. 

  2. Don't Make Demands. 

    Instead, express how you feel and what you are seeing. Making demands to the one in charge damages relationships. So don't do it. They're lest likely to give you the time of day. 

    Instead, show respect and tell them what you are feeling and seeing. Share your sincere concerns and don't tell them how you think they should feel. 

    Understand that leaders have feelings too. 

  3. Explain Why, Not Just the What and How. 

    Believe it or not, your best argument for change is not what the issue is or how to solve the issue. Your best argument is why. 

    If you can explain the why clearly, they're more likely to be open to the what and the how of the issue. 

  4. Don't Discredit Them Publicly. 

    This is a big no...no. If you talk about your group or organizations leader to others in the group or organization, don't think he or she won't hear about it. 
    If someone else is passing on a message about what they thought they heard you say, well... People are people. 

    "Words are like feathers in a pillow, once you release them it's hard to get them all back." 

    People have a way of exaggerating and making things sound and seem worse then they really are. 

    If your conversation gets back to the leader, no matter how well intended, it could very well hinder your influence for change, compromise your integrity and destroy any leverage you may have had with leadership. 

  5. Be a Part of the Solution. 

    Don't be the problem. When you feel that the HPIC is not listening, it can become easy to turn negative. Instead be helpful.

    Yes this can be a hard thing to do with difficult leaders. So try this:

    Offer to take the lead on what you suggested. If not the lead, then do the legwork.

    Suggest easy short term changes so that they can see the results. 

    Most of all keep a good attitude. It shows that you have emotional intelligence and are a great leader or would make a great leader. If nothing else, others might begin to notice and realize you're right. Now you have support from others in the group or organization. 

  6. Change Yourself. 

    Before you can even begin to influence change there has to first be a change in you.

    The more you are willing to change the more you can influence change.

    Here are Three Key Ingredients for Change 
    that might be of some help. 
If after all this you are still not able to influence the HPIC that change is needed, follow Peters advice and, "Save yourself."

It's hard to get a stubborn insecure leader to seek change, even for his or her own benefit or the benefit of others.


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