Agility is the new leadership black. Leadership today requires you to go wide, deep, and wide again. It requires you to have a clear picture of the future and to be highly responsive to the climate and culture you are in right now. Leadership needs to be adaptive and resistant so you make measurable progress towards the shared dream. Leadership agility is the ability to apply many and varied leadership styles to act paced, ever changing environments. It’s the ability to read a room, shift a team, understand a person and make meaningful connections that move the mission forward.
The most agile leader determines the future. The greater the ability of the leader to focus on the outcomes and foster creativity in the process, the greater the levels of trust, momentum and effectiveness that will be built in a team. This will also encourage creativity and deepen the layers of leadership in your tribe.
There are a number of things that leadership agility is not:
- Agility is not just being “flexible” about results
- Agility is not overlooking critical components of skill, culture or behaviour
- Agility is not letting “anything go” in a team environment
- Agility is not managing so much that it begins to feel like too much.
Agility is the ability to use the right tool to solve a clear problem at the right time in the fastest way. It is being able to confidently handle the “I don’t know” scenario that so frequently visits teams in a fast paced, continually changing environment. The military phrase that was coined for this is VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. This way of thinking was originally applied to war but has rapidly shaped and infiltrated the world we live in beyond military applications. Leading in this environment is the new normal.
Agility is a combination of the following key commitments:
- Responsibility: the ability to respond and be fully accountable for outcomes. This means you need to be “at cause” and decide under whatever the circumstances, that you will be accountable and take responsibility for the outcomes. Taking the choice to self-lead and take responsibility can be a real game changer.
- Focus: The old adage what you choose to focus on you will find, rings true here. Think about an unusual babies name you may hear, all of a sudden the name pops up everywhere, until you heard of this name it wasn't in your focus or sphere of thought on a subconscious level. What are you looking from your team and for your team? If you look for issues you will find them, if you look for competency and have a strengths focus you will also find this.
- Perspective: When faced with limited options to move forward this skill needs to kick in. An agile leader likes exploring uncharted territory, standing at the cliff face they aren't led towards certainty, they prefer clarity over certainty and have a clear sense of what is next to achieve their overall mission.
- Mindset: This is about being able to discipline your imagination. When you get to a place of “I don't know” you are perfectly placed to install an upgraded operating system in your mindset. This takes you to a place of curiosity. An agile leader asks themselves ” What if I did know?” This reframe can really open thinking and a world of possibility in what you need to do.
Some food for thought around turning on or turning up “agility” to serve you and your team for even more success!
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Renée Giarrusso, Lead Coach, Trainer and Keynote Speaker works with high performing executives and teams across a myriad of industries and organisations.
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