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The Change Leader

The change leader is able to leverage others' motivators or personal drivers to mobilise the energy to make change happen. Whether you are an executive, director or project leader, one of the most powerful and pivotal roles you can play in your organisation is that of a change leader

In the book, Plugging Into Passions, authors Myron Radio and Wendy Mack explore the new role of the organisational change leader. The change leader guides us through adversity, uncertainty, disruption, transition, transformation, innovation and growth. 

Leadership is all about change, and change requires leadership.

Do your teams naturally resist change? When Radio and Mack interviewed leaders about their change efforts, they repeatedly cited resistance as the primary obstacle to transformation. These leaders were often surprised and perplexed by people’s reactions to change. 

Recent studies from the field of neuroscience have helped us to understand more about our hard-wired responses. Human responses can, in fact, range from resistance to support. This is really important to understand as a change leader because it takes something unique (that we'll talk about below) to receive support for change.

Change requires energy. Leading change starts with your ability to energise others.

Being an energising leader is not about delivering motivational speeches and holding pizza parties at work. While the ability to inspire is important, effective leaders recognise that being an energiser is not about “projecting” energy as much as it about uncovering and unleashing energy to achieve a specific result.

Passion is the term Radio and Mack use to describe what moves and motivates people to take action. From motivational theory to more recent research, the six culture-neutral, gender-neutral core motivators were identified:

  1. Passion for Knowledge
  2. Passion for Results
  3. Passion for Creativity
  4. Passion for People
  5. Passion for Leading
  6. Passion for Tradition

When you interact with each person, you have the opportunity to connect your message to their own sources of energy.

Curious to know which motivators drive the people you work with? That's why we created the Driving Forces™ tool. This tool looks at each of these motivators on a spectrum, which expands to 12 factors that tell us WHY we move into action.  

Driving Forces (DF) Graph

“Leaders, who are highly connected to their people, have twice as much power to influence change as leaders with hierarchical power" ~ Adapted from Viral Change by Dr Leandro Herrero

The message is to be an authentic and transparent change leader, who takes the time to build relationships with others to understand their drivers and energisers so that you can plug into what really moves them.


Plugging Into Passions: How to Leverage Motivators at Work to Mobilize Energy for Change by Myron Radio and Wendy Mack

12 Driving Forces™ - See the Complete Guide to our Psychometric Assessments

Note: This blog post was originally shared in March 2013, and it was refreshed and republished in June 2021 with up to date information and context. 

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."

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