3 Ways to Become a Flexible Leader
by Linea Donasco, Fundpro Philippines Associate Partner
A leader's job is not to do the work for others; but to help others figure out how to do it themselves, get things done, and succeed beyond what they thought possible.
- Simon Sinek
Each team member comes with some learned or comfortable modes of operating; but when a leader steps in, he or she must map out the stages of innovation and recognize the team’s diverse processes and skillsets. This is to help the team members express their own creativity at work and find new innovative ways to solve problems effectively.
A leader must be able to respond nimbly and in a timely manner. That's why flexibility is an absolute necessity in today's increasingly complex work environment and globally diverse business landscape.
Flexible leaders can modify their style or approach to leadership in response to uncertain or unpredictable circumstances. In addition, they have these three advantages to adapt to changes as they come.
Innovative - they create new out of everyday ordinary
Proactive - they anticipate challenges and have a plan for handling them.
Solutions-focused - they never dwell on the problem; instead, they focus on what ican be controlled.
When you're a flexible leader, you can earn the trust and respect of other people, gain wealth of insights and ideas that can bring you closer to your goals, and increase adaptability in high-stress situations.
However, one of the first things that new leaders need to realize is that not all team members respond to a direction in the same way. They must be able to revise their plans and follow what we, in Fundpro Philippines, like to call the MAC System – to incorporate innovations and overcome challenges while still achieving goals.
Mirror: Manage your body language and tonality whenever you communicate with your team.
Adjust: Acknowledge that you're not always right. Accept that not all people will or can be like you – you can't duplicate yourself.
Compromise: Listen to your team and weigh your options so that decisions are beneficial to both parties.
Leaders need to recognize situations in which their old behaviors are not working. Hence, they need to decide how to approach the problem, including what new behaviors or approaches are feasible to accomplish their goals within the restraints of their situation. Once a new path is decided upon, these leaders need to be able to assess the current success and progress of their new and unique behaviors and re-evaluate or further modify unsuccessful behaviors.
Being open to experiences and seeking each situation's learning opportunities is essential. It will help you:
Train people of different personalities, gender, age, and background.
Develop a dynamic and competitive team.
Avoid favoritism or biased leadership to promote equal opportunities for your people.
What is most important is that you know which style is yours and you know how to recognize the styles of others. Embracing change and meeting each person closer to their preferred style is necessary for being a successful leader and the most effective way to reach your goals.
As a leader, you must master the ability to change your plans to match reality and work effectively and progressively with a broad spectrum of people. It may come with extensive changes, but it will trickle down to everyday activities that are subject to change.
Learn how to treat uncertainty and ambiguity as the new normal because a true leader doesn’t whine; they create solutions to succeed.