Since my last post on Executive Leadership, I have done a considerable amount of reading, listening and learning about what it takes to be an effective leader. My first post on this subject discussed Authentic Leadership, then I discussed the need for Resiliency as a Leader. Now, I am adding Agility to the mix. Agility is often identified with Resiliency under the broader umbrella of Flexibility. In other cases, the Agile Leader is viewed as a separate concept. However, all agree that it relates to experiential learning by leaders throughout their careers.
Developing Agility “muscle” starts early in a career. In fact, individuals who develop Agility early, thus becoming strong learners, will develop other leadership skills more quickly too. An Agile Leader is able to draw on personal experiences, while applying the learnings to tackle new challenges. The key to Agility is to learn from both positive experiences as well as mistakes. This requires a disciplined approach:
- Seeking out challenging experiences
- Understanding what is happening around you throughout the experience
- Reflecting on the experience
- Embracing the lessons learned
- Learning to think by analogy
- Relating lessons learned to new challenges
Leaders with Agility don’t just learn business issue resolution. They learn about different types of personalities, cultures and styles through experience.
This gets me back to the point on developing Agility “muscle” early in a career. The sooner a potential leader learns to seek, understand, reflect, embrace, learn and relate from challenging experiences, the easier it will be to take on more challenging experiences and thus perform more successfully in new situations.
Agility can be accelerated in companies that adopt Career Development Centers. How Agile are your leaders? As your company works at developing leaders, growing talent and shaping culture, is Agility recognized for its value?