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Leadership and change management

Research shows that leadership style can influence the success or otherwise of organisational change initiatives. Research by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) also indicates that the way in which senior leaders are seen to model and communicate the importance of change through their behaviour (for example, the way they encourage innovation and are open to learning and supporting others by aligning change to organisational outcomes) is positively related to perceptions of change management.8

Last year, the State of the Service report highlighted this research, showing the extent to which senior leaders encourage innovation and creativity, demonstrate an ability to learn and adapt, are able to align organisational outcomes, give time to develop talent, are personally active in efforts to improve diversity, and encourage learning and development, may assist in creating an environment where employee perceptions of the effectiveness of change management are positive.

Figure 6.7 shows that two key senior leadership behaviours (previously shown to be positively related to employee engagement) are also positively related to employee perceptions of how well change is managed in their agency.

Figure 6.7. The relationship between employee perceptions of change management and satisfaction with senior leader behaviours, 2014

Source: Employee census

Figure 6.8 shows the same positive relationship between employee perceptions that change is managed well in their agencies and satisfaction with immediate supervisor behaviours.

Figure 6.8. The relationship between employee perceptions of change management and satisfaction with immediate supervisor behaviours, 2014

Source: Employee census


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Footnotes

8 Schmidtchen, D & Cotton, T 2013, There's many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip’: Leadership capabilities and change management in the Australian Public Service, presented at the 2013 Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, December, Hobart. (Available on request.)