3 Skills Successful Leaders Use to Unleash Change

3 Skills Successful Leaders Use to Unleash Change

John Eades 18/04/2024
3 Skills Successful Leaders Use to Unleash Change

The future of successful companies depends on their leader's ability to unleash change.

It's a big claim, one that isn't made lightly. No organization can survive, much less thrive, if they stay stagnant. John F. Kennedy said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

Kennedy was right when he said it then, and he is right now. The only thing that's consistent in today's workplace is change, so unleashing change in yourself or within your organization isn't nice to have; it's a requirement in 2024 and beyond.

Unleashing change is a required skill for leaders in the digital era.

However, most leaders know change is important, but most struggle with unleashing it in themselves or in others. Mainly because they have experienced how uncomfortable and difficult making a change can be or have had a front-row seat at a change initiative that crashed and burned.

Skills Leaders Need to Unleash Change

A skill is choosing and performing the right technique at the right time with minimal effort. Unleashing change within others is a learnable set of skills. For the sake of simplicity, here are the three skills you need as a leader to unleash change in your organization or team.


Skill #1: Vision

Many leaders ignore vision as a skill and impose a change on people without ever considering the future state. This creates a struggle because the focus is on the current state instead of the future state.

Here is a short story about a leader with a vision: 

While it's tempting to believe you need to be a visionary leader like Elon Musk to unleash a change, that wouldn't be the case. It just required a little work on your part:

  • Close Your Eyes - Vision is the ability to see beyond what your eyes can see. Closing your eyes and visualizing a future state that exists beyond what you can see today is a powerful way to develop your skills.

  • Write it Out - Write out everything that will be different if the change is successful.

  • Say it in the Mirror - Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself the vision you want to unleash. (If it doesn't excite you, why should anyone else be?)

Skill #2: Communication

Unless you can successfully unleash this change yourself, communication will be essential. In Building the Best, I wrote about the 3Cs of Successful communication. Leaders must be clear, concise, and conclusive to be effective.

The reason is that our brains are constantly thinking about what good or bad happens if we do or don't do something with what is being communicated. When leaders communicate by leveraging the 3 C's, it's amazing how a team will band together. Here are a few best practices to be a more effective communicator:

  • Tell Stories - Facts, figures, and data points are great, but stories move people. Said differently, stories stick, and facts fade.

  • Update Progress Often - There is no such thing as overcommunication, when it comes to organizational change. However, most leaders under-communicate because the progress of the results are slow at the beginning. Don't make this mistake; update progress, good or bad, often.

  • Make it Personal - People are impressed by your strengths, but they connect with your weaknesses. Make your change initiative vulnerable and personal. Tell your team why it's so important to you.

Stories stick, and facts fade.

Skill #3: Adaptability

Quickly adapting to changing circumstances and environments is a necessity in leadership today. The reason is the rate of change isn't slowing down, it is only speeding up.

The rate of change isn't slowing down, it is only speeding up.

Adaptability is adjusting to new situations and changing your actions as needed. It is possible that a change you set out to unleash last quarter is already not worth it anymore. Here are some best practices to be more adaptable:

  • Get Constant Feedback - You fail as a leader if you unleash a change and don't get constant feedback on how it's going. Set up learning sessions with team members about the challenges and hurdles associated with the change.

  • Constantly be Learning - A portion of every leader's day should be committed to learning. Developing skills, looking for emerging opportunities, or seeking new strategies for future success.


Your team's future relies on your ability as a leader to unleash change. Now is the time to lean into and develop your vision, communication, and adaptability skills. Your people are counting on it.

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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