7 Things I’ve Learned About Successfully Leading Change

Michael K Leadership 4 Comments

Here at, I am constantly on the lookout for valuable content from various leading voices whose thoughts I believe can positively influence your approach to life. Today’s blog post is from one such leader—Ron Edmonson.

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he’s been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.

For more information about Ron or to check out more content he’s written, be sure to visit his website at

Without further ado, here is

7 Things I’ve Learned About Successfully Leading Change:

Bottom line: Every organization—whether a church, business or nonprofit—needs change in order to continue to grow and remain healthy.

But here’s the thing about change. If you’ve ever been in leadership you know this.

Change is hard. Very hard.

And it’s especially hard for some people. In fact, in my experience, the most common reaction to change—at least initially—is rejection or rebellion.

And that’s what makes change difficult to lead.

Learning to lead change successfully may be the single most important challenge of any leader.

I’m not an expert. But I’ve led some change. Some successfully. Some not.

And along the way I’ve learned a few things.

Here are seven principles that can help you successfully lead change:

Establish trust. You can best lead change from a pre-established trust in your leadership. New leaders should be careful not to implement a lot of major change early unless that change is vital to the organization. Major change will be easier if the leader has established some credibility.

Introduce change early. This is where “early” comes into the process. People need time to warm up to the change that is coming. The less you surprise people, the greater your chance for success can be. Change always comes with an emotion attached, and giving ample notice allows people a chance to acclimate those emotions.

Communicate often. Inform people along the way by keeping them updated with the progress during a period of change. Include the good news and the bad news in these updates. Hold nothing back. I’m not sure you can over-communicate. And use different means of communication to make sure you catch everyone and every style of listener.

Widen the distribution. Get buy-in from as many people as possible. Sometimes leaders have to lead alone. People can’t understand where you’re taking them that they need to go but may not even know yet or want to go. But those times of loneliness should be rare. Wherever possible, include others in decisions concerning change.

Follow through on commitments made. The quickest way to lose trust is to say one thing and do another. Likewise, do not make commitments you cannot keep. Be true to your word.

Be consistent. You will keep people’s trust through the change if it is easier to figure out where you are as a leader, what you are thinking and why you are making the decisions you make. And pay attention to the word “why”—it’s critically important. People need to learn you, and seeing a consistency in you over time and testing, and the more they understand why, the more accepting they will be of change.

Change continuance. Do not make change a rare occurrence. Build a culture of healthy change so that it will be more naturally accepted when it comes. That takes time. And experience. You need some wins so people learn to trust you when you are trying to lead change.

There are a few things I’ve learned about leading change. What have you learned?

Michael K7 Things I’ve Learned About Successfully Leading Change

Comments 4

  1. Courtney

    Being transparent I am experiencing this very situation in my profession. one thing that I’ve learned is Leaders have to Be the Change. that gives those following an example of what the change should look like. If incorporated with these steps should lighten the trust phase, which is a critical phase. Great read Michael Im going to read your article in my monthly department meeting next week.

    1. Post
      Michael K

      You’re so right. A leader’s words lose credibility incredibly fast when they fa to model the action they’re encouraging others to pursue. I’m glad to hear that you’ll be able to use the info in your work environment! You’re an awesome leader! Keep up the great work bro!

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