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How Do You Get Leaders to Be Good Sponsors? | Video Transcript

How do we get leaders to be good sponsors? Shouldn’t they just know it? Shouldn’t that be part of their job description? Shouldn’t they not get promoted into leadership positions unless they are good sponsors? I know you are laughing right now, because I know your experience is that this doesn’t necessarily happen. So, we appreciate and understand that we have to build change management skill into leaders. That is a critical element – the training of a leader or manager on what his or her role and responsibilities are in good change management.

Training is a part of the answer to the question, but there is something else we don’t think about enough — leaders are targets. They are targets of change in how they sponsor change. For many of them, that’s a very dramatic change from the way in which they have dealt with changes in the past. Keeping in mind that leaders are targets of change – what would their resistance be to learning how to be good sponsors or to applying what we teach them? Constantly considering them as the targets, it isn’t just training.  Sponsors need the will to apply what they’ve learned.

What would keep them from doing that? There are two sources of resistance. One is the fact that they have their own fears or concerns about changing their behavior, changing the way in which they approach change, and don’t understand the real value. Or, they simply have their own issues with the change. Maybe they didn’t like the change that was finally selected, because they were advocating for a different change. Maybe they see that the end state is actually going to cause them to lose power and authority, of which they have in the current state, that gives them a great deal of personal satisfaction and job security. Yes we should train them, but we also have to spend time looking at where their resistance issues might  be.

Remember — if we don’t deal with leaders’ target issues, all the training in the world is not going to make them good sponsors.


Jeanenne LaMarsh

Jeanenne, Executive Director of Consulting Services, founded LaMarsh & Associates, the predecessor to LaMarsh Global, and developed the innovative Managed Change™ model and methodology that has been used for effective change management by hundreds of organizations over the past decades. Connect with Jeanenne on LinkedIn here.

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