Navigating Change in a Fast-paced World

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
Change affects people in different ways, and the ability to lead well during these times will depend powerfully on your own EQ which will give you the awareness to lead with head and heart.

Slowness to change usually means fear of the new. [Philip Crosby]

 The human brain was not designed for rapid changes in pace, and as a result we are spending more time in ‘survival mode’ where our ability to adapt and think creatively is compromised. I have personally experienced this. According to the latest neuroscience research, our brains require certainty and predictability, which is far from where we often find ourselves in the modern world, and as a result, many of us are feeling anxious, emotionally unsafe, and threatened by the drastic changes happening around us.

 Change affects people in different ways, and the ability to lead well during these times will depend powerfully on your own EQ which will give you the awareness to lead with head and heart.

 People do not resist change because of logic – it is an emotional response.

 As a leader your role is to inspire people to reach their full potential, and to engage and motivate your teams to work together to achieve goals. It requires continual effort and courage to do this as you lead your team into new and unchartered territories.

 Some questions that you as a leader need to ask yourself are:

  1. How is the current pace of change impacting me and my team or my family?
  2. Why is navigating change so hard for myself or my team or family?
  3. What role can EQ play in leading during this time of uncertainty and change?

 The type of leadership that will be required is that of Change leadership, which can be defined as: the ability to keep yourself and your team innovating and adapting to succeed in a continuously changing environment. As a Change Leader, you need to be aware of your own readiness to deal with change, as well as to keep your teams motivated and energized to keep going during these tough unprecedented times.


Agile Leadership

My Six Seconds Colleague in Australia, Alison Lalieu, has developed a framework for what she refers to as AGILE leadership.

AGILE leadership is an acronym for:




Love of Learning


Awareness: This is about being aware and honest with yourself about how you are feeling and how you behave when you go onto auto pilot (reacting without thinking) especially when under stress and pressure. You need to pay attention to your values and beliefs (including limiting beliefs), blind spots and biases, and to be vulnerable and courageous enough to challenge your judgment. It also entails being empathetic.

Generosity: Is seeing the potential in others and building trust through leading with the core values of integrity, honesty, and authenticity. This type of leadership will intrinsically motivate others. Trust is a primary emotion and building trust is a critical core skill of AGILE change leadership.

Insight: Using a Coaching approach to leadership by being curious and asking more questions than providing solutions. Recognizing that people thrive when given the opportunity to do their own thinking around challenges. To create emotionally safe environments where people feel comfortable taking risks, and mistakes are celebrated as opportunities for learning.

Love of learning: Always look for more information, be innovative and imaginative, seek new information and perspectives from multiple sources. As an AGILE change leader, you recognize that people have different talents and strengths at all levels of organizations, and through connecting and caring for your people, you will better understand their emotional needs.

Energy: Always being fully present and giving your undivided attention to people so they feel heard. The art of true listening is a skill that many people lack and needs to be developed. As a leader you also need to know which EQ competencies to draw on to energize yourself and others to positively support people through change and understanding when and how to pivot to lead well through uncertainty and risk.

People are emotional beings so we need to take emotions into account when leading or managing change.

Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. [John F. Kennedy]

 Let’s look to the future with hope and positivity.