1. (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.
2. (of a person) positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.
You’ve heard it said a million times— “the only constant in life is change.” Therefore, shouldn’t we try our best to be dynamic leaders? Change has been thrown in our faces over the past year or so, whether it be the state of our economy, workforce, or political environment.
We hold leaders to a higher standard. They can’t check out when it comes to change. In fact, tumultuous times are the exact moments when people need a dynamic leader the most. People don’t resist change; they resist loss. Change requires the exchange of one thing or reality for another. Therefore, change is difficult because we get nostalgic in one way or another. We miss what once was.
Mindsets that Prevent You from Becoming a Dynamic Leader
People have several coping mechanisms to help them deal with the losses associated with change, and not all of them are conducive to growth. Here are some of the most common categories I’ve come across:
1. Endure: People sometimes have this theory that, in time, change will pass and return back to normal. Choosing to endure rather than to grow is not a dynamic approach. Change is not like an investment—you don’t buy and hold! The truth is that it is impossible to go through change completely unaffected. If a baseball team only plays defense, they’ll quickly become weary. Also, they won’t be able to get any runs on the board! Don’t be stubborn in your leadership. You won’t advance the people you lead or your organization.
2. Resist: This coping mechanism takes the form of complete denial. Resisting change occurs when a person denies that a change has occurred, or they deny the effects. This could look like avoiding conflict, refusing to recognize the effects of a team member’s decision to leave the company, or ignoring your organization’s financial state.
3. Compromise: This is a partial denial. Instead of accepting change, they merely put up with it and resign themselves to minimizing its effects on their lives. They do not go through the change; they go around it. When someone compromises change, they go through the motions but aren’t present emotionally or physically. They might fight God and try to have their way in a situation rather than following His guidance wholeheartedly.
[Related: Wired for Growth: How to Enact Change in Your Environment]
How Jesus Dealt With Change
Jesus himself was a master of change. He brought the new covenant into a Jewish culture that was set in their traditions. In regard to the new covenant, Jesus taught,
“Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved,” (Matthew 9:17.)
You cannot make everything stay the same. God is in the process of bringing new life into areas, but it may not always look how you expect. If an organization rejects change, it will not survive. God might be changing your area of influence, and if you don’t choose to be a dynamic leader, you could be outside of His plans for your organization. But, if you give God a new wineskin, the old and the new will be preserved.
10 Questions to Make You a More Dynamic Leader
Innovation is written into the code of growth (and it’s needed to financially keep up.) This does not mean that you hop from trend to trend, but it does mean that you continually work to build upon your foundation. If you want to embrace change, the first step is to acknowledge that it happened. Then, evaluate the change by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What did I lose as a result of this change? (Literally and figuratively—i.e., you might say my job and my sense of security.)
2. What opportunities are present now that this change has occurred?
3. How am I responding to the change? What are my needs?
4. How are the people I lead responding to the change? What are their needs?
5. If the change appears to be mostly negative, is it a result of living in an imperfect world, or is there something I can do about it?
6. Is this change a result of my personal choices and behavior?
7. Is this change a result of someone else’s personal choices and behavior?
8. Am I in an age transition? (such as young adulthood, mid-life crisis, or empty-nest syndrome?)
9. Does my leadership style reflect the changing needs of the current era economically, technologically, and socially?
10. Are people in a similar area of leadership undergoing (or have they undergone) the same changes as me? If so, who can I connect with to more deeply understand the situation?
After you contemplate these questions, you’ll have a basis to understand what actions you need to take—and you do need to do something. Embrace the change as a part of your life and use it as a steppingstone for your personal growth. Every time you effectively master a change in your life, you add another experience to your leadership tool belt that can be leveraged to better serve others in the future.
[Related: 3 Examples of Business Innovation from the Pandemic]