Managers have always been a key lever to success in change management work. They are the frontline troops in helping get their employees through a change successfully. Prosci’s research has continued to demonstrate that employees want to hear about change from their managers, managers can help proactively mitigate employee resistance, and having managers bought into the why of a change is crucial for success. The Prosci ADKAR Model is a uniquely valuable tool that, when used successfully, can help managers positively impact a change.  In Prosci’s Applications of ADKAR research effort, change practitioners shared their experience, insights and advice on empowering  managers with the ADKAR Model (read the full research report here).

Why Empower Managers with the ADKAR Model?

Prosci’s study found that the ADKAR Model provided managers with a common language to talk about a change with their employees and amongst themselves. The cohesion of communication not only helps managers communicate with their employees but also helps them understand the process of change better. The model’s easy-to-use and simple structure allowed for managers to quickly learn and apply within their working groups.  Finally, participants who choose to empower their managers with the ADKAR Model did so because they had seen its success on a broader change initiative and chose to expand that success by equipping their middle managers with this powerful framework for individual change.

What the research says

Prosci’s Applications of ADKAR research effort explored seven uses of the ADKAR Model, including empowering managers. The quotes below from study participants shed light on the applications of and results of providing managers with the model:

It provides them a framework to understand where in the process they are in terms of implementing change to their teams and how they can/should have a cadence to their delivery.  Also helps them understand their role as a sponsor of change.


Managers tend to move fast through the project mode, and think that people will behave differently as soon as they hear that change is required. With ADKAR, we get them to understand that more will be needed, that you need to invest in awareness, that you need to talk with people, engage them to come up with ideas etc... We hope to reduce the stress and burnout in the organization by paying more attention to how we implement projects / changes.


Easy to understand and use, and yields immediate results when engaging employees - facilitation tool for engagement.


“It is intuitive and we can build coaching conversations around ADKAR.  Often change conversations can be difficult. With ADKAR in mind they can ask questions that will get to the heart of the challenges that managers can experience in supporting staff through change. When staff identify a barrier point that the manager needs support to help their staff overcome, they have a language to provide feedback to project teams.  Keeps everyone moving in the same direction and enables project teams and operational managers and supervisors to connect.”

What This Means for You

The full research deep dive includes additional insights into how participants empowered their managers and what resources they provided them. Click the image below to download the deep dive for inspiration and examples, as well as a story of how one organization saw success when providing the model to managers.

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Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.