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How to Equip Your Managers with the Human Skills for Culture Change.

Culture change is more critical than ever. Challenges such as the pandemic, ethics, EDI, climate change, digital transformation, rapidly changing work models, and the war for talent are reason enough to keep culture at the top of every organisation’s agenda. Why? Because standing still and failing to respond to these challenges will hurt the bottom line and put the organisation at risk. Read more to find out about the human skills leaders and managers require to lead culture change.

Culture change is not a pet project that organisations can pick up and put down. Organisational culture must be under constant scrutiny, ensuring the sails are adjusted and that sustainable changes get implemented in pursuit of the vision, values, and goals.
In 2024, a positive culture is a necessity for organisations that want to stay in the game, and with access to most stakeholders, leaders and managers play a crucial role in culture change.

However, while leaders and managers could provide the key to successful culture change, reports suggest they get in the way.

Middle managers stand out as the most resistant to change. Almost a third of senior managers do not fully understand the reasons for change, and 31% of CEOs get sacked for mismanaging change.
One mistake leaders and managers sometimes make is to assume change will happen if they make an announcement, reorganise, change processes and systems, or invest in new technology. Often, they fail to recognise that for successful culture change to happen, they need to understand the impact change has on their people and help them successfully navigate through it. The problem is that culture is often so deeply embedded that people find it hard to change and to help them, leaders and managers must learn to draw on their human skills as much as their technical ones.

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Some of the human skills that help leaders and managers drive and support culture change include having the ability to:

Communicate and disseminate a clear vision
Clear and consistent communication will help people embrace change and understand how they contribute to it, building trust and commitment.

Demonstrate new behaviours and lead by example
Leading by example demonstrates a commitment to change and will motivate others to follow.

Coach and mentor colleagues through the change
Coaching and mentoring will help people overcome challenges and adapt to new situations.

Manage the human aspects of change, such as fear and anxiety
Addressing emotional and psychological needs of people going through change will help overcome resistance and increase acceptance, enthusiasm, engagement, and satisfaction.

Culture is not a luxury

Foster collaboration and communication
Collaboration and communication will improve cohesion and alignment, reduce conflict, leverage collective intelligence, and encourage shared problem-solving.

Encourage creativity, innovation, and ideas
The more people who share ideas and seize new opportunities, the more likely they will learn to adapt to changing circumstances and environments.

Stimulate curiosity and continuous learning
Curiosity and continuous learning will ensure people grow, navigate roadblocks, and keep pace with change.

Traditional training often falls short of expectations

Leading culture in an ever-changing landscape is challenging, and leaders and managers require new skills to be effective. To make the way for culture change, organisations must equip leaders and managers with the necessary human skills that help them become change agents rather than blockers.

However, choosing management training programmes that help leaders and managers cultivate human skills must be considered carefully. Traditional, off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all training often fails to engage the learner and falls short of expectations. And programmes that focus too much on theory, while intellectually stimulating, do not change behaviours.

Organisations serious about culture change will benefit from a more bespoke, targeted approach to leadership and management development that turns the attention away from theory and knowledge and towards behaviour change and experience.

Ashorne Hill does this exceedingly well. Ashorne Hill’s mission is to accelerate human skills development for success in an ever-changing world. In close consultation with clients, Ashorne Hill’s L&D professionals work hard to identify the desired culture change and tailor bespoke, highly interactive, blended learning experiences that help leaders and managers develop the human skills to create a positive and productive culture.

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If you are ready to transform your culture and equip your leaders and managers with the skills they need to drive and support culture change, click here to find out more or call our team on 01926 488 000.