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Top 10 Skills and Traits of a Successful Change Leader

November 15, 2021

By: Tonya DeVane

The business world is forever in a state of flux, constantly adjusting to societal, economic, environmental, and industry trends. If your company can stay on pace or get ahead, it will remain relevant and competitive. But, if it cannot, it will fade into the background, ultimately becoming obsolete. That means your firm must nimbly, strategically, and effectively respond to these continuous shifts. We will share the ten skills and traits of a successful change leader to help you navigate these rough waters.


To be a successful change leader, you should possess and continually hone these skills:

1. Communication

During times of transition, you must clearly and transparently communicate what, how, when, and why. Employees need to understand what their new normal will look like, how the process will unfold, when they can expect to see a difference, and why the shift is taking place. But, remember: While logistics are important, the rationale is even more so. If you can demonstrate a compelling reason for the change, you will be more likely to garner the commitment of your workforce.

Pro Tip: View communication as an ongoing process rather than a one-time event.

2. Collaboration

Change is more likely to stick if you collaborate with employees from all levels and departments within your company. For best results, empower them to contribute their ideas, voice their concerns, and help shape strategic plans. They will feel like they are collectively working towards a shared goal and that they have a sense of ownership of the initiative. Plus, you will benefit from hearing various perspectives, which can result in more thoughtful and holistic decision-making.

3. Decision Making

While you should collaborate with and listen to different stakeholders within your organization, it is your job to make the final call after weighing their input. You must use your expertise, instincts, and research to decide that change is necessary, what adjustments to make, when to pivot, and how to carry out the project. You must own your choices, regardless of the outcome.

4. Delegation

You are in charge for a reason, but you are not an expert in all areas, nor can you handle every task. That is why you have a team. So, to ensure the success of your change initiative, you must leverage their talent through effective delegation. When the right person gets aligned with the right task, you will be amazed at what the group can accomplish.

5. Project Management

Executing a corporate change often involves coordinating many moving parts, so your project management skills need to be on point. You will have to track the project’s budget, timeline, deliverables, and more. You will also be responsible for measuring progress, solving bottlenecks, adjusting the schedule as needed, keeping the team on track, and, ultimately, achieving the objective.


To be a successful change leader, you should have these innate traits:

6. Vision

As the leader, you are the north star for your employees. They look to you for guidance — especially during uncertain times. That means your vision must be strong and clear so that you can show your team the way to success.

7. Commitment

Change needs to originate from the top, so you have to be the most committed person on your team. You must be willing to work hard and champion the cause for the long haul — even when you get tired or encounter challenges. The benefit? Your dedication should inspire similar behavior from your employees.

8. Empathy

Change is hard, especially if it is a long, drawn-out process. That is why empathy is such a critical trait for you to have. You must take the time to gauge how each team member feels and offer your genuine caring and support as needed. If you do, your employees will be more likely to stick by you and perform at a high level — even if they are being adversely affected.

9. Approachability

As your employees carry out the vision, they are bound to have questions and concerns. Therefore, you must be approachable so they feel like they can come to you for guidance. That way, they get the answers they need to keep the project on track.

10. Positive Energy

Making a significant shift takes a lot of sustained effort, so your team needs your positive energy to keep them motivated. With eternal optimism, encouragement, bravery, and good humor, you can inspire them to keep going — no matter what. Together, you will achieve your company’s goal.

How Omnia Can Help

So, how do you know if you (or someone on your team) has the skills and traits required to be a successful change leader? That is where our research-backed cognitive and behavioral assessments come in. In less than 30 minutes, you can get the insight you need about any employee — including yourself!

Our assessments dive deep into a team member’s:

1. Personality

2. Communication style

3. Motivations

4. Ability to solve problems

5. Level of adaptability

6. Thought and learning processes

You will get actionable results instantly. But, if you want more guidance, we can also provide expert analysis on our behavioral assessments.

Final Thoughts

Change is inevitable — and endless. As a leader, you must be able to recognize the need to pivot, develop a strategy to make the shift, and inspire your team to carry out the initiative. When you are successful, your employees will thrive, and your company will continue to prosper. Remember: We are here to help you succeed, so contact us today!

Tonya DeVane

Tonya DeVane is the Vice President of Customer Success & Product Optimization, driving transformative strategies that elevate customer satisfaction and optimize Omnia utilization. For more information, email or call 800.525.7117.

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