Flexibility is a vital trait for becoming an effective leader. To be competitive, organizations need to adapt at a fast pace.
Flexibility in the true sense means adopting new ideas and thoughts and managing multiple projects without getting stumped if there is a sudden change in one of them.
The ability to adapt to changes determines your levels of flexibility. The quality of flexibility is also important if you want people to feel at ease.
- What Is Flexible Leadership?
- Why do great leaders turn out to be flexible?
- The Importance Of Flexible Leadership
- Key Qualities Of A Flexible Leader
- How To Become A Flexible Leader?
- The Three Forms Of Flexibility That Aid The Leaders In Contributing To The Change
- The Approach To Flexible Leadership
- The Advantages Of Enhancing Your Leadership Flexibility
- The Process Of Flexible Leadership
- Why Is Flexible Leadership Important When You Are Leading Others?
What Is Flexible Leadership?
A flexible leader can establish a connection with anyone, as they tend to be flexible in their own way. It makes a person comfortable and contributes to the best of their interaction or conversation.
All of us are aware of the turbulent times in modern business, and flexible leaders need to embrace and open up to new ideas.
They are able to manage and lead, as both of them are vital to becoming flexible leaders.
The benefit of being a flexible leader is that you gain the trust and respect of all your team members.
You gain insight into ideas that help you adapt to your goals and can lead to sustainable growth and insights.
Why do great leaders turn out to be flexible?
In the rapidly changing economic and social environment, flexibility is an important trait. A flexible leader is one who can modify or change their approach in relation to unpredictable and unresponsive situations.
Apart from that, a flexible leader is adaptable to changes as they come. Flexibility is the process of adopting a different approach regardless of the level of change that is taking place in the company at that particular juncture.
Leaders need to take stock of situations where their old behavior styles are not working.
They need to have an idea of how to approach the problem and what the best ways are to deal with it. Once a path has been decided, a flexible leader should be able to assess the success of the current program.
The Importance Of Flexible Leadership
Flexible leadership holds relevant importance, and it is depicted as follows:
- Flexible leadership represents the link between two components. The first is the members of an organization, and the second is the strategic plans through which an organization aims to achieve its goals.
- All the activities of flexible leadership are geared toward specific goals.
- The motto of flexible leadership is to keep pace with the rapid developments that are occurring and employ those changes to achieve the strategic objectives of an organization.
Key Qualities Of A Flexible Leader
Change is an integral component of organizational culture, and it is something that cannot be avoided.
To thrive as a leader, you should be able to adapt to these new changes and work them to your benefit. Some of the key qualities of a flexible leader are
They have flexible ways of thinking.
For a flexible leader, adaptability is a vital quality they need to possess that enables them to experiment and make changes as per requirements.
You need to question your thought patterns and make sure that you are approaching things with an open mind.
Relax your mind and give yourself time to step back from the rigid process that allows you a new paradigm of thought.
The key is to practice your own emotions and those of others, which means varying the same with the emotions of others.
Flexible leaders plan ahead.
A flexible leader is aware that a goal and plan are necessary, but they need to adopt a flexible path to achieve that endeavor.
This would mean multiple roles to achieve the desired goals, and rather than a single approach, a flexible leader has alternative paths.
Planning means focusing, as it points to the effective use of resources in achieving the desired goal.
At the same time, you are able to assess the risks along with the opportunities. The moment you are able to understand the obstacles that you face on the route, you will be able to deal with them in a better way.
Flexible leaders are curious.
A flexible leader adopts a curious mindset when dealing with an issue. These are the sort of leaders who seek to understand and then find a solution to a problem.
They understand the perspective of others and adopt a curious approach when it comes to the intended outcomes.
Be aware that a flexible mindset does not come naturally to everyone. But with practice and focus, you can go on to achieve the same.
How To Become A Flexible Leader?
The situation is no worse, as leaders all over the world are facing uncertainty and complexity.
Adaptability is a key requirement, as change is inevitable and constant, and you need to be flexible in order to succeed. An inability to adopt was one of the main reasons for my career derailment.
This is because flexible leadership limits the adaptability of others. The commitment of the employees is jeopardized by throwing things off track.
The Three Forms Of Flexibility That Aid The Leaders In Contributing To The Change
If you are looking to enhance your adaptability to change, you need to practice the three components listed below at your workplace.
Leaders who incorporate cognitive flexibility tend to incorporate different thinking strategies and mental frameworks into their planning and managing of their day-to-day work.
Cognitive flexibility is all about developing an innovative approach to work and the ability to leverage new connections.
The leaders are bound to learn from experience where the old approaches do not work.
Leaders who possess emotional flexibility to alter their approach when it comes to dealing with their own and others’ emotions.
An emotionally stable leader is comfortable with the process of transition, including grievance and resistance.
A leader who does not possess emotional flexibility is dismissive of the concerns of others, as they would shut down the discussion.
In the midst of this, an emotionally adaptive leader moves their concerns forward.
The leaders who follow this trait operate from a place of open grounds in openness and realism. They are going to acknowledge a bad situation and understand how to deal with it.
These leaders see it more in terms of an opportunity than a threat.
The Approach To Flexible Leadership
There are six distinct approaches to flexible leadership. Leaders need to be flexible as they need to adapt to the situations and individuals involved.
You need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each leadership style.
List Of Approach To Flexible Leadership
- Control: There may be times when a leader has to supervise and monitor the work done on a project. When a leader uses this style, they set clear expectations, the activities are monitored closely, and decisions are taken.
- Teach– such an approach advocates how the work is performed. A leader trains the team members and shares their knowledge with them. This is going to give them an idea of how to accomplish a task in the future.
- Guidance: You may tap into the employee’s experience where their techniques are important, as this would be drawing out knowledge from the team members. Such an approach can enhance confidence levels if the team members feel discouraged.
- Collaboration: during collaboration, the leader is bound to contribute ideas that blend with those of the team. The leader is going to have an open mind and pose questions, and the employees involved will be able to select a course of action.
- Reinforce—It is important for a leader to reinforce and motivate the team members when they encounter obstacles. Expressing confidence and appreciation for the ability of the team to accomplish a difficult task turns out to be a critical leadership trait.
- Empowerment: a high-performing individual or team responds to empowerment. In some cases, the leaders need to get out of the way and allow the team members to contribute insights based on their own thought processes.
Each leader does have an approach to leadership that may come naturally to them, but it is important to flex the style and see how it may adapt to the changing trends of the business.
The Advantages Of Enhancing Your Leadership Flexibility
Most leaders are aware of the flexibility of leadership and may wonder if it could lead to a loss of control or total chaos.
The moment you enhance your flexibility, it forces you to become a better leader.
- You become aware of how to adopt. Plans alter, and employees quit as new hires go on to join a team. Grants are approved, budgets change, and the only thing that is constant is change. A flexible leader recognizes the need for change at relevant times.
- Your welcome input from other members– Since the employees know that you will listen, they are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts. Using employee input, you will gain valuable ideas and steps that can be taken to enhance the morale of the employees.
- Open to innovation– change is not going to intimidate you. If there are newer ways of getting things done, you are going to consider them. It is not about doing things the way you have done them but about adopting a creative approach when it comes to dealing with things.
- You become resilient—an increase in flexibility enhances resilience as you have the mental capacity to bounce back from adversity. For this reason, you move forward to consider solutions for the next round.
- Experience greater productivity. There is a need to recognize individual differences and how they have an impact on work productivity styles. Employees tend to be productive, engaged, and effective at work if they are part of the changes.
The Process Of Flexible Leadership
The best leaders are the ones who are able to adapt effectively. They are able to recognize a situation, formulate processes, and determine how to overcome it.
While there is no magic formula to execute this balancing act, there are some successful traits of flexible leadership that you can embrace at your workplace.
Enhance situational awareness
The leader needs to understand the internal and external factors of an organization and which factors enable it to succeed.
For example, things like shared culture having an impact on the organization or the attitudes of the employees all contribute to situational awareness.
Embrace systems are thinking.
Leaders have to be aware that making changes in one area of an organization could impact others. Every organization has alterations or interlocking systems to a single system, and it can have a domino impact on the organization as a whole. Figuring out these effects would enable us to deal with the change in a better way.
Coordination across the various areas of an organization
No single leader, even a CEO, has complete control over the success or failure of a change initiative.
To achieve a lasting commitment to change, the leaders at every level in an organization should coordinate their efforts when it comes to it.
Leading by example
Coping with behaviors through change has an important role to play in the flexible leadership module.
At the same time, it is also important not to set an example with bad behaviors, and leaders should not return to their old habits.
Once the situation changes and new challenges come to the fore, flexible leaders should not allow their attention to be distracted and should enhance their commitment to the overall goals of an organization.
Why Is Flexible Leadership Important When You Are Leading Others?
Each and every business has to encounter numerous challenges. A better piece of news is that adopting flexibility in your leadership style keeps you ready when unwanted hindrances arise.
Coupled with the fact when you are challenged, you are able to adapt to situations better and solve problems once they emerge. There are two important pointers when it comes to leaders’ adaptability.
All of us value the importance of enhancing the morale of the employees. The moment you become a flexible leader, you are making an attempt to improve yourself.
By listening to the views of others, you become self-aware and give due consideration to the viewpoints of others.
For any business, flexibility is an invaluable asset. The moment you are able to adapt to the constantly changing market in comparison to your competitors, the team will be able to adjust better. In the long run, you are bound to gain a competitive advantage.
Change is a critical component of every organization. New technologies, processes, regulations, or other factors require companies to periodically adapt their business models and operating methods.
For all these reasons, flexible leadership is paramount at all levels of an organization. Each and every leader, from the CEO to the manager, need to possess interpersonal skills, adaptability, and execution to cope with the relevant skills.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.