The dictionary definition of agility is “the ability to be quick and graceful.” Sounds like a must for dancers, but agility is also one of the crucial requirements for global leaders today.
Agile leaders deliver various benefits for their organizations – among them, worker satisfaction, loyalty, stronger motivation and (perhaps best of all) business longevity. But agility doesn’t come naturally for a lot of people, even for talented leaders. The natural tendency for many is to have a myopic perspective of situations, preventing them from taking into account the different variables that impact both process and results.
For example, you’re the boss of a growing enterprise and you’re focused on productivity in order to satisfy your demanding clients. So, you constantly tell your employees to uphold high standards in everything they do – perhaps, you even request them to work overtime to easily meet deadlines and solve issues that arise when conditions get stressful. They deliver for the company, but as a leader, do you recognize the value of their output?
Do you understand that in order to keep your operations afloat and save the good reputation of the company, they have given up part of their personal time, and made other sacrifices?
As a leader, what has been your expression of appreciation for their effort? A “thank you” or “good job”? Did you even bother at all?
If you have leadership agility, acting with great consideration is a must. You don’t want to ever appear like you’re taking your workers for granted. You don’t want your workers to feel like you don’t notice their hard work because this will snuff out their drive. Most of them will perhaps not say anything and stay on board (for some time). They will continue to work because that’s expected of them.
But eventually it will be apparent that you cannot count on them to dish out the goods. With low morale and inspiration, mediocre will rise to be the norm. Needless to say, if you have dreams of globalizing your business, that’s going to be difficult to achieve.
The enemy of progress is being average. And this is usually the result of a leader’s lack of agility. Therefore, if you’re resolved to keep your organization growing, supercharging your leadership ability is a must.
4 Ways to Boost Leadership Agility
1. Continue learning
Being an eternal student can shape and prepare you better for the changes that can happen in your organization. Harness the benefits of executive coaching and other learning programs. You’ll have a bigger trove of solutions that can be used for issues that may arise along the way. If you have solutions ready, this will not only strengthen the confidence your followers have in you, it will also inspire them to do as you do.
2. Come up with ways to improve the people working with you
Average is the enemy, right? Well, you need to make sure that your people have no reason to be average and the best thing to do that is by investing in opportunities that can either develop new skills or boost their strengths. But before you do that, carefully assess their weaknesses and strengths. This way, you’ll be able to match them with the most appropriate or suitable programs for their improvement.
Want to know the best advantage to doing this? It clearly shows that they are valuable to you and you want to continue working with them. This can boost their confidence and their drive in delivering more value for you and the organization.
3. Establish a feedback and monitoring mechanism
Gaining information on the sentiments of workers will provide you a better understanding of how employees feel about your leadership and the efficacy of whatever leadership methods you utilize.
4. Make brainstorming sessions a norm in your operations
Encouraging this activity will grow the idea bank of your organization and likewise, it presents the opportunity to identify members that serve as movers and shakers so you can have a more effective and efficient leadership and take the organization to greater heights.
Leadership agility is a vital component to success – it’s leadership done right. Therefore, focus on this and make sure that as a leader you demonstrate it at all times.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.