To be an Effective Leader you must be Flexible. This means you need to be Resilient, Agile, and Adaptable — 3 leadership traits that demonstrate Flexibility. In prior posts, I shared why I believe Resiliency and Agility are important attributes of an Effective Leader. Here are my thoughts on why Executive Leadership requires Adaptability.
In conversations with many business executives a common theme creeps into the dialogue — there is one constant is today’s business environment — that is, business is in a state of continual change. Heraclitus – the Greek Philosopher – surmised “Nothing Endures but Change”. In the business world change comes rapidly and many times is a surprise to the people impacted by the change. Adaptability represents an executive’s ability to adapt well to change and to lead others in accepting change.
Change is hard – 70% of business change efforts fail. At the surface adapting to change sounds easy, however, every individual has an aspect of personality which influences receptivity to change and accepting change. As a Leader it is critical to adapt well to change whether it is change in the Executive Ranks, in the Organization, in the Business Model, in the Economy or any other business related change. And, as important to adapting is leading others through change.
Whether you are less or more receptive to accepting change, Adaptable Leadership, begins with Establishing Direction, Aligning People, and Motivating and Inspiring Others. It requires establishing an environment that is conducive to change — where change has purpose – where there is a sense of urgency. An Adaptable Leader develops these skills by first understanding self-tolerance of change and developing tactics to address any limitations. Secondly, the Adaptable Leader assesses the ability of others and develops a plan to engage and enable them to move through the change continuum. This requires effective use of emotional intelligence which is dependent on the Leader’s own comfort with change. A Leader who is not Adaptable to change will not have the gravitas and fortitude to lead other through change. An Adaptable Leader never lets up and looks for the next opportunity to adapt to change.
Change is hard. Leaders who demonstrate Flexibility – Resiliency, Agility, and Adaptability are better suited to deliver better business results in today’s constantly changing environment.