Helping Leaders Navigate Change

The interconnectedness of the habits and dispositions of Onward make for powerful learning that keeps cycling. In Chapter 2 we explored our emotions and began to understand them more. In Chapter 4, we focused on building community and the disposition of empathy. And here we are in Chapter 11: Riding the Waves of Change putting it all together and looking at the role that emotions and empathy play in changes that happen in our lives.

In the article How School Leaders Can Attend to the Emotional Side of Change, Katrina Schwartz shares the work of psychologist Robert Evans. He shares the need for empathy when bringing about school change. “Resistance to change is normal and necessary,” Evans said. “If you are part of some big change in your school and you aren’t expecting resistance, there’s something wrong with your plan.” But he also points out that resistance can be overcome when leaders understand its source and empathize with teachers.”

Evans also shares these tips on how to manage change:

  • Have a set of non-negotiables.
  • Change requires the deft use of both pressure and support.
  • Leaders need to tell teachers that they are asking to change what, how, and why.
  • Recognize that flexibility is required.