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Leadership as known since time immemorial has been a recurrent adventure filled with anxiety, excitements, doubts, and even sometimes, chaos (Nirenberg, 2004). Nonetheless, today leaders have tremendously continued to coin the entire meaning of leadership to an envisioned platform. The current changes in leadership environment have been made possible owing to the dynamism in the 21st Century leadership environment that many management thinkers believe to be complex and demanding of leaders (Schyns et al. , 2011). Thus, the ongoing changes and development in leadership will instill an irrevocable sense of leadership influence and change among current and future leaders. While the mere definition of a leader emphasizes on their ability to influence others to willingly participate in ongoing processes, a leader must also be visionary, ambitious, and proceed with a sense of the entire organization purpose and values (Northouse, 2018). Hence, the thesis will analyze the theory U, as well as other empirical studies to achieve how the theory links to a sustainable model of leadership change management, along with realizing the new system of thinking and presence among global leaders.
Bestowing from studies by Stewart (2010), the U or the Utopian theory as proposed by Otto Scharmer alleges that thoughts and emotions tend to hinder people’s ideas. Therefore, in being a good leader an individual must be welcoming/ expose their mind to the new idea and overcome false and emotional ideas to realize the effective change (Nirenberg, 2004). Thus, Scharmer theory proposed for the reintegration and acceptance as a way of welcoming change and new ideas among leaders. The U model as applied by Otto Scharmer begins from left to right beginning by the co-initiating phase involving listening to oneself and suspending one’s judgment (Walden University, 2015). At the stage, the leader pursues a common intent by listening to others as a way of understanding the call to leadership. The next phase is co-sensing where the leader engages in factual and empathic listening to others with all their might, mind, and will (Walden University, 2015). After which, the leader will move to ‘presencing stage’ where the leader will develop a sense of their past and future leadership goals. The stage will allow leaders to link with their inner inspirations either through meditation (Stewart, 2010).
In moving towards the upper right side of the leader will have to co-create by prototyping their visualized leadership intention and crystalizing such intent with their head, heart, and hand to achieve leadership goals. Finally, the leader will co-evolve in that they will embody and perform that which is new within their leadership environment, by acting on the ‘whole’ ((Walden University, 2015). On the left side of the U model device strategies for leaders to deal with resistance in their thoughts and emotions, whereas the right side encourages reintegration and intelligence of leadership thoughts (Twelve Management site, 2017). Unlike the T theory that focuses on changing the world, the U theory focus on changing the world-view of an individual/ leader by demanding of them to proceed beyond their personalities and explore their true identity of self (Northouse, 2018). Hence, the subsequent section of the assignment will integrate how the model of the U theory achieves effective leadership change management.
Agreeing with Burke (2017), a leader usually has a mission, a vision, and a destiny to achieve and would constantly seek to persuade others to help with realizing a compelling cause. Therefore, leaders usually assume a ‘creative tension’ persona to help with negotiating their way out of a chaotic change process. Rendering from Schyns and fellow proponents (2011), a leader is usually on the crossroad between the past and the future and will sometimes tend to rely on mental models, and meditation to predict and control certain organizational situations. As evident from the situational leadership concept, the leader’s ability to lead is usually tested at the time of chaos, uncertainties, and even dangers. Therefore, the appropriate mix of courage, competence, along with a sense of purpose, vision, and urgency to resolve organization issues will determine will help the leader the effectiveness of a leader to shepherd the organization and its staff from management quagmires (Burke, 2017). Transitioning to the future is never easy especially where the followers prefer the status quo (Schyns et al. , 2011). Therefore, a leader in the case will always rely on the past and present to develop a mental model by which they will anticipate the future. The creation of mental models important in realizing sustainable change for self and others within the organizational context is usually guided by a vision of a creative and a transformational mindset (Twelve Management site, 2017).
The paradox of change posits that despite the volatility of the global economies change tend to remains as the only phenomenon that widely contested. While change is inevitable, Northouse (2018) argue that people can always overcome change by focusing on building that which is new, as opposed to fighting the former/ old. Thus, an effective leader will help focus the organization energy and develop the passion for the pursuit of the new through taking action, as opposed to reciting change as a theory (Walden University, 2015). While realizing change promises more benefit, still people may be opposed to it due to fear of uncertainties, and even cynicism on the side of management. While Lewin and Kotter proposed the three steps and eight steps of change model, realizing sustainable change is more involving than it appears. However, both models outline the urgency, the synergy, the vision, and the dynamism through which leaders should leverage change and allow it to infiltrate to the entire levels of the organization (Burke, 2017). Bestowing from studies by Nirenberg (2004), the achievement of mental models should help remedy training and practicality of change result. However, in defective cases, the achieved models may alter objective evidence into subjective assumptions resulting in a misconception of change idea and erroneous judgments. Thus, the need to leverage change should pursue constructive and pragmatic transformation aimed at coagulating the followers’ as well as the leader application of mental models. As applicable to the U theory and the need to developmental models, it is vital that a leader suspend their judgment and engage in collaborative discussion to achieve a prudent change decision in pursuit for the new (Stewart, 2010). Hence, driving a sustainable change model should rely on the U theory of ‘presencing’, where a leader borrows from the future to comprehend and construct the current/ present.
Confirming from studies by Schyns and co-authors (2011), they propose three stages of change transitions namely; (i) ending, losing, and letting go, (ii) the neutral, and the (iii) new beginning. In interpretation, Schyns and fellow proponents (2011) meant that people will tend to achieve neutrality where they are unchain/ let go off/ liberate themselves from their past. The neutrality zone is usually a crossroad full of risk and opportunities and would always require thorough monitoring. Likewise, the stage is indicative of the Lewin’s move/ change stage that will thrust the organization into the desired new state (Northouse, 2018). The neutrality phase is usually demanding of a persons’ psychological, emotional, and cognitive change to facilitate process improvement for the desired new state/ beginning. Thus, gaining emotional intelligence among leaders is imperative to guide their followers in adjusting to the change. In essence, emotional intelligence provides the avenue for system-wide thinking and understanding the symbiotic structures of a dynamic change structure (Stewart, 2010).
According to Nirenberg (2004), the tenets of the U theory emphasizes the need to establish a learning organization. Meaning, a learning organization must sort for innovative, as well as creative thinking strategies as championed for by the theory. Hence, a collaborative principle in the view should comprise of the shared vision, the mental models, team learning, and systematic thinking, as well as personal mastery. Whereas systematic thinking, mental models, and personal mastery are personal to a leader, the rest bear the plurality of decision depending on the leader (Schyns et al. , 2011). Nonetheless, system-wide thinking remains to be the foundation of continuous engagement, improvement, and collaboration for the remaining four tenets. The systematic thinking principle forms the basis under which the manager can move others away from their comfort zone, question them as an order for facilitating sustainable positive change (Northouse, 2018). Similarly, a vibrant and effective leader will also rely on system thinking as a strategy to conquer challenges through delegation and prescribing the roles and objectives to their followers. Thus, achieving sustainable leadership will help grow the prospect of sustainable change among progressive organization (Nirenberg, 2004). According to Northouse (2018), the transformational style of leadership bestows in a leader the integrity and the credibility needed to steer a change within the periphery of moral and professional standards desirable of them. Leaders with such mentioned qualities will achieve an empathic listening ability, the open mind, heart, and will, as well as hands to compel such sustainable change.
While change is fluid, leadership tends to involve a static and will evolve over time depending on the willingness to embrace certain leadership behavior and skills (Nirenberg, 2004). Likewise, the idea about leadership and change tend to be complex but can always be learned through training and studying others personalities. Hence, the ideal leaders are always visionary, courageous, resolute, and bear a sense of purpose and destiny. Such individuals will always leverage the organization from the status quo by suspending their judgmental attitudes and emotions and engaging in active and empathic listening to better the organization future (Schyns et al. , 2011; Stewart, 2010).
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