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5 Jan, 2023 - 5 min read

How to become a leader of change and transformation

How to become a leader of change and transformation

How to become a leader of change and transformation

is not just a catchphrase dropped in leadership meetings today, it's an imperative. Whether disruption is planned or unexpected, a culture of resilience will help a business or community organisation both withstand and thrive through changing environments and transformation.

Arriving at a place where change becomes energy, not an obstruction, takes a new kind of leadership. One where skills aren’t gained at short tactical leadership training retreats and certainly not where leadership only comes from the top. 

Leadership is not one directional

If we’re to learn anything from the past two decades, it’s that volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) are hallmarks of the world in which we now live and work in.

At academyEX we’re aware those challenges are not selective and are impacting all organisations, communities and people around the globe. As we seek to respond, it’s clear that significant change and transformation of our norms, practices and values is needed. 

That means we all need to develop capacity, knowledge and skills that support us to be effective change makers, who not only lead from the front, but from within. Leadership is not one directional

We can no longer rely only on born leaders to lead us through disruption. 

Start with learning

If you seek to create change in your organisations and foster a diversity mindset and culture of resilience, look to professional development learning as your first step. 

Dr Allanah Johnston is the Programme Lead for the Master of Change and Organisational Resilience with academyEX. As a change practitioner and an academic who has spent nearly 20 years working with academics and organisations across Australia, Sweden, and the UK, she understands how crucial it is to build a new type of leadership. 

“I see a need for employees to feel a sense of belonging, to be valued and respected, no matter their role, tenure or experience. There’s also a need for organisations to respond proactively to change. These two needs can be met through adaptive and highly responsive leadership, where leaders encourage integrated and equitable systems, structures and processes.”

Developing qualities of good leadership

In years gone by, the qualities associated with a good leader were strength, determination and a certain charisma. No doubt we can all think of a time we experienced this type of leadership.

But effective leaders today are aware, embrace diversity, tap into their own vulnerabilities and lean into the unknown. A marked difference between rigidity and flexibility.

This is a core component of the Master of Change and Organisational Resilience. To develop these qualities we need to step outside of our comfortable spot, listen rather than talk and learn to harness the power of empathy. It can feel unsettling at first, but believe us, the rewards we see through our learners journeys’ are invaluable. 

We see a new type of leadership that seeks diversity.

Diversity is the engine room

It’s never been more important for diversity to play a leading role in organisations. Diversity in perspectives and experiences creates opportunities for innovation. Diversification of skills and approaches creates resilience.  

Diversity in an organisation is not about ticking boxes. And it's not about expanding the portfolio of products, stocks or bonds. 

Genuine diversity is a mindset. It welcomes difference, change and sees value in perspective and experimentation. 

At an organisational level, that requires building an environment that values authentic relationships, provides culturally-balanced, responsive approaches to change and places importance on the intersections between people, purpose, processes and technology.

The Master of Change and Organisational Resilience takes lead from diversity, providing a range of ways for learners to build a master’s degree that serves their unique needs and aspirations. 

Students can select to learn across a range of emerging practice areas, like sustainability, disruptive technologies and digital collaborative learning environments. They complete their master’s with a real-world change project designed for their organisational challenges, and contribute to the new frontier of change and organisational resilience research. We celebrate diversity and the richness it adds to solutions in our teaching and learning strategy Te Ara Kōtihi (the Pathway to Success). 

Become a leader for transformation

We’re in a global moment of transformation and it is critical for all organisations, in Aotearoa, New Zealand and around the world, to seek out how to plan, adapt and respond to continuous and complex change. 

As management specialist and Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co Bill Schaninger said, “this is an unbelievable opportunity to remake culture. It’s rare in a leader’s lifetime to have such a clean drop for reshaping how you run the place”.

Let's use this moment wisely.


The Master of Change and Organisational Resilience is a unique new master’s programme offered at academyEX. Delivered part-time or full-time with blended or 100% online study mode options, the degree programme has been designed to support people develop their capabilities to lead through times of change.