The Role of Leaders in Change Management

Board with arrows pointing left and right that say “old way” and “new way”
Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Nurse leaders play an important role in change management; they can create a working environment in which nurses and other members of the team are ready to take risks and be active participants in the change.

They act in various roles to support and promote change:

  • Communicators, sharing information about the change
  • Liaisons, engaging with and supporting the team with whom they are working
  • Advocates, demonstrating their support for the change
  • Resistance managers, identifying and mitigating resistance to the change
  • Coaches, supporting members of the team through the change process


Activity #1

Read about the nurse leader’s role in managing change in Chapter 9. Common Change Theories and Application to Different Nursing Situations section 9.7 to the end of the Chapter in Wagner, J. (Ed.). (2018). Leadership and Influencing Change in Nursing. Regina, SK: URPress.


Activity #2

Watch this TEDxAmsterdamED talk by Dr. Thijs Homan, Professor in Implementation and Change Management.  In this talk, he is sharing key insights on change management and the role of change managers.

Video: The inner side of Organizational Change: | Thijs Homan | TEDxAmsterdamED (22:06)

Nurse leaders, in this increasingly uncertain health care environment, need to be able to apply change management theory, serve as change agents, and support the health care team through the process of change. They need to see the work more flexibly and less bureaucratically in order to respond more creatively and adaptively to the dynamic and ever-changing health care environment. As change agents, nurse leaders use their knowledge and skills to lead and influence change while building an environment of trust and collaboration in the team.


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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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