Leadership adaptability is the most crucial leadership skill of the twenty-first century. This short video explains why adaptability determines a business’ ability to survive in its market.
Leadership Adaptability Means Adjusting Leadership Character
Change in a company starts with leadership. The problem is, leaders are notoriously difficult to change. Sadly, some have learned so much and come so far that they find it very difficult to evolve habits that have formed over a lifetime.
But, that is what must happen if companies are to keep up with the pace of change in the world. Leadership adaptability is a matter of character. Can leaders become more adaptable? Can they learn to change their habits? These are two of the key questions that will determine whether a company survives or dies.
Leadership Adaptability Discards Antiquated Thinking
One of the problems that modern leaders face is history. Across history, businesses have not been designed to change. On the contrary, they have been designed for stability and control. Sadly, stability and control are the very opposite of the required attitudes of the twenty-first century.
Historically, business structure has evolved from military structures. Plus, many of the post-war systems designers were engineers, financial controllers and mathematicians. So, the mindset of control and stability runs throughout the antiquated pyramid model structuring most businesses.
To escape this thinking we have to open our minds to new ideas. But it’s not easy. Because those ideas have become very normal for us. Yet, while they seem normal, they are also very dangerous.
Leadership Adaptability Respects Connectivity and the Speed of Change
The twenty-first century brings us challenges that couldn’t have been imagined 200 years ago. Since the introduction of computers, advances in communication have accelerated change. In turn, this has increased the volatility of change and its unpredictability. These three factors: accelerated change, volatile change and unpredictable change, require a new leadership approach.
Sadly, the old approach is not good enough.
Leadership adaptability is the only way to handle this new economic environment. That’s because the old leadership skill of control and plan is becoming less useful. Still, it has a place, of course. But there are also new skills that leaders must learn if they are to handle the volumes and speed of change in the world.
Responding to the rate of change in the world today can only occur with greater leadership adaptability. Leaders must learn to tap into their people and delegate. Better still, they must empower where the authority can be used more effectively. Leadership adaptability means reducing the barriers between departments and sections. Also, it means reducing the ‘them’ and ‘us’ mindset that separates leaders from doers.
A Better Approach to Leadership Adaptability
To instill leadership adaptability in your team takes time. However, it can be done. Creating a culture of leadership adaptability is the first step. Conventionally, this means training. But, it also means changing the team culture so that shame and blame are reduced and staff can take responsibility for adapting faster.
There are a great many steps that can be taken easily to improve leadership adaptability. The first step is to realize that your business may only survive if it takes the second set: action to prioritize it as a problem to solve.
The author, Michael Paul Stephens, is the founder of Provolution Consultancy, a Thailand-based corporate training business that helps companies build a better culture through The Human Spirit Model®. This model is the ultimate team-building program and has enabled dozens of businesses across Asia to develop a culture of trust and respect that balances human needs and business needs equally.