The world around us is changing constantly. We operate at a fast pace and regularly interact with people around the world. There are four diverse generations in the workforce. When considering everything we’re confronted with on a daily basis, it’s easy to see why it’s so imperative for leaders to demonstrate flexibility.
What Does a Flexible Leader Look Like?
A flexible leader recognizes that one leadership style is not effective for every situation or for coaching every person. In some situations, it is more prudent for the leader to delegate assignments and involve others in building a strategy. In other situations, the leader must take charge, set the direction, and give people specific instructions. Knowing the “correct” leadership style depends on the situation and on the needs of the individuals involved.
Six Approaches to Leadership
CMOE has worked with leaders across the globe since 1978, and in our work, we have found six distinct approaches to leadership. There is no single leadership approach that fits every situation. Leaders must be flexible, adapt their style to the needs of the situation and the individuals involved, and remember that each style has its strengths and weaknesses.
- Control: There are times when a leader must closely control and supervise the work being done on a project. When using this style, the leader sets clear expectations, monitors activities closely, and makes key decisions.
- Teach: At other times, the best approach is demonstrating how the work is performed. A leader trains team members and shares knowledge with them. This helps the team learn how to perform the task properly in the future.
- Guide: Tapping into an employee’s experience by asking for his or her ideas is a technique that helps to draw out the knowledge of team members. This approach can boost confidence when team members feel discouraged.
- Collaborate: When collaborating, the leader contributes ideas that are blended with the ideas offered by the team. The leader keeps an open mind, asks questions, and helps the employees involved select a course of action.
- Reinforce: It’s important for a leader to provide encouragement and motivate people when they are faced with obstacles. Expressing appreciation and confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish a difficult task may be the critical leadership behavior that helps them get through the challenge.
- Empower: High-performing individuals and teams often respond well to empowerment. Sometimes leaders simply need to get out of the way and allow others to contribute their talents, expertise, and insights in their own way and on their own terms.
Every leader has an approach to leadership that he or she prefers or that comes most naturally, but it’s important to learn how to flex and adapt your leadership style to best fit the needs of the situation and the team. CMOE believes that a leader can change his or her level of flexibility through awareness and practice. We have helped numerous leaders become more effective by increasing their adaptability.
The key to becoming more flexible is learning to evaluate the situation and apply the leadership style that will lead to the best results. Contact CMOE or complete a request form on our website to learn more about how we can help you adapt your style to fit the variety of diverse situations that you face in your business.