The Best Bosses Lead with Flexibility
The best bosses lead with flexibility consistently and effectively. As I have stated previously, it is not about mastering all elements of The Superstar Leadership model. It is about using them in tandem, getting familiar with the nuances and needs of each strategy. In addition, practicing each to become more proficient as a leader over time. It is a process of improvement and increasing a positive impact on your team.
It takes a day in anyone’s world as an adult to realize that everybody is different. Yes, there are some similarities here and there, but for the most part, we are all incredibly unique. From our background to our appearance to our experience to our personality, we are different. So, it makes all the sense in the world that a leader’s ability to be flexible MATTERS. Unfortunately, many do not want to be. Research says 80% of leaders use one style.
A leader cannot always pick and choose the sort of team, projects, environments, or crises that will come one’s way. If a leader cannot figure out how to navigate the unpredictable waters, she will probably go down with the ship. To some extent, it is about going with the flow to adapt to what your followers need. And doing that without forfeiting the things that matter.
An Example How to Lead with Flexibility
For example, the analogy that comes to mind for me is this. We would never call someone a chef or even a decent cook for that matter if they could only cook one dish. We would deem someone a chef that has mastered the art of cooking. Now, that does not mean that chefs cannot specialize in one cuisine over another. However, the caliber of chef sort of depends on one’s ability to improvise as needed. Furthermore, doing this without compromising the quality of the dish. Therefore, the same is asked of leaders.
Your team is going to vary by individual. The level of need, knowledge, experience, behavior, and guidance will inevitably change by day by team member by project. That is a lot of change. So, will you be the leader that refuses to adjust accordingly? Or will you be the one leading the pack through the unprecedented territory? Will you expect every member of your team to be always on the same page as you? Or will you willingly and cooperatively work to understand the unique needs of each team member? As a result, if you do you can effectively and collaboratively reach your goals together? Remember, the greatest impact on an employee’s performance is their direct supervisor.
Your approach as a leader must adapt to the needs of your followers. It cannot be all about you if you are hoping to help your team reach success. For example, if you have team members who are struggling, the help you need to offer them would feel too handholding for a top performer. Likewise, what you would give the star on your team would be too overwhelming for a beginner. Most importantly, the only way to adapt as needed is to KNOW YOUR TEAM and do it with an open mind.
7 Questions about How to Lead with Flexibility
As you seek to reach the ranks of the best bosses or as we say superstar leaders, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know what makes each of my team members motivated? Discouraged?
- What is the depth of my knowledge about the level of skill of each employee? How am I adapting to the abilities of each?
- Am I creating an environment that encourages uniqueness and difference?
- How might I be suffocating others with the “my way or the highway” mentality I have?
- How am I utilizing each person to her utmost potential, regardless of how she compares to other team members?
- Am I rigid and unable to adapt to needs and team members accordingly? Do I want everyone to be like me?
- What am I doing to develop this skill? What support am I seeking?
Pulling It All Together
In conclusion, it is almost as if you are completing one big puzzle. Each piece is unique, for the whole project to be complete. And just like putting together a puzzle, leading a team takes a lot of patience, resiliency, and versatility. You cannot know it all before you get started, but you can be open to figuring it out along the way based on what fits. Certainly, being open minded about what is needed and what works. In sum, when you lead with flexibility you increase trust and employee engagement. Why? Because it is more about them than you.
Awhile back, I came across this anonymous quote, which suits this strategy well. “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” It is an excellent image to keep in mind as you are hoping to become a better leader while helping your team succeed.
Also, are you committed to your team’s success? If so, see this complimentary Coaching for Results eBook.
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Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.