Managers can and should be change agents, but they, in my experience, rarely are. Robbins and Judge (2010) define a change agent as a manager or non-manager in an organization who act as catalysts to change a behavior or activity. In my experience, many managers do not do what they are supposed to do: manage. They do not fix what is broken or change any policies that may be out of date or flawed. Perhaps it is because many managers operate under the fear of making mistakes through change. According to Nutt (1999), identifying a problem can prompt defensiveness, so the energy that could be used to identify the problem and make a change is used for protecting themselves. If we know a problem exists but cannot define what it is, then no resolution can be made and no changes can enhance the organization.
So what is it we can do to become a change agent? Knowing that there is a defensiveness to change and towards your protection can be used to then make changes. If you are aware that you may be protecting yourself instead of truly leading you can bypass this reflex and do yourself and your business a service by stepping up and making that change. Gather information and people’s input on what the issue may be. Do your due diligence and fix the problem by analyzing and brain storming further problems, possible solutions, and symptoms of what you are trying to fix.
Nutt, P. C. (1999). Surprising but true: Half the decisions in organizations fail. Academy of Management Academy, 13(4), 75-90. (AN 2570556).
Robbins, S. & Judge, T. (2009). Organizational behavior, (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.