Flexible Leadership

Probably, many of us tried being a leader at something at least once in our life. Whether it was leading a game when you were a child or leading a team at school or work. Even then, you could notice that all people have different styles of leading their teams. Some are more democratic and listen to others and some love to fully control everything on their own. However, which approach is better and more effective? Let’s find out together!

All of us are familiar with a good old “commanding” leadership style. However, it’s not considered to be as good today. As you can guess from the name, this management style is usually uncompromising and even a bit totalitarian. More and more people are trying to leave this model of leadership in the past and today, the majority is leaning towards flexible leadership. Today, we want to talk more about this way of managing a team and why it is so effective and popular these days.

Why being a flexible leader is important?

The modern world changes extremely fast and it’s really important to keep up with all the changes. So, when you’re leading a team of other people, it’s essential to have this ability to adapt to all kinds of situations. In other words, if you want to be successful, you’ll need to learn how to be flexible. So, who exactly is a flexible leader, and which qualities this person has?

In general, a flexible leader is someone who can change their approach and leadership style according to the situation they face. For example, sometimes you need to make decisions fast and completely independently and you need to know how to resolve certain problems without additional help. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll need to engage all your teammates, ask for their opinions, create communication channels, and earn their trust. A flexible leader is someone who can find the approach to any person.

Let’s look at some of the key points of a flexible leader:

  • Someone who is constantly looking for development and new opportunities;
  • Understands the characteristics and peculiarities in the working styles of each team member;
  • A person that can identify the issues that may influence the working process right away;
  • Someone who understands which approach suits a certain situation;
  • A person that is a great listener and is open to new ideas, even if they seem crazy at first;
  • Someone who is stress-resistant and makes decisions quickly, even under pressure;
  • A person that accepts any changes and sees them as opportunities and not obstacles;
  • Someone who can acknowledge their mistakes and is ready to accept criticism.

This list can go on and on, but we can all agree that without any of these aspects, it’ll be much harder to become a flexible leader.

How to develop flexible leadership?

Now that you know about some of the main qualities a flexible leader should have, you probably want to know about the ways to develop them. So, we want to present you with some tips on how to increase your flexibility and how to adapt to various situations.

  • First of all, learn to analyze. Before making any decision, try to analyze the complexity of the task you have to do and your own capabilities;
  • Always try to plan beforehand. Even though it’s almost impossible to avoid unexpected situations, it’s always better to plan everything out. Create a schedule of meetings, set goals, and divide the tasks among the members of your team;
  • Carefully choose the people that you’re going to work with. Your team is your biggest support, so it’s essential to find people who you can rely on. Take into account both – skill and personality;
  • Don’t forget to take some time off. Working hard is great, but it can always lead to burnout. That’s why it’s extremely important to take some breaks or at least alternate your tasks;
  • Always ask for feedback. It’s impossible to improve and become better without taking into account the opinions of other people. Plus, it’s easier to build trust with your workers when they feel you pay attention to their thoughts;
  • Conduct regular meetings with your teammates, both general and individual. It’ll help you to set goals for the future and define what they expect from you and their work;
  • Learn to notice conflict at the starting point and resolve it as fast as possible;Try to look at change as something positive and turn it into a new opportunity to develop your skills.

Also, we cannot miss out on mentioning the different types of flexibility a great leader has.

Cognitive Flexibility

Cognitive flexibility means having an understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as understanding your teammates have them as well.

And the ability to accept all these points and make the best out of them.

Learning Flexibility

The name speaks for itself. It’s the eagerness and readiness to learn something new and constantly develop your skills.

Emotional Flexibility

Emotional flexibility means accepting all kinds of emotions but knowing how to cope with them in order to make the work as effective as possible.

Adaptation as Part of Flexible Leadership

As we have already mentioned, the ability to adapt is a crucial aspect of becoming a flexible leader. The world is full of surprises and sometimes they’re not exactly great. So it’s important to know how to deal with all kinds of situations. Here are some tips on how to adapt to various circumstances faster

  • Try not to stick only to one plan. It’s always better to have a backup or even a bunch of those. In that case, even if your first one doesn’t work out, you won’t have to spend time and resources on creating a new one;
  • Before making any conclusions and decisions, try to learn as much about the situation as possible. Ask questions and look for additional information. In that case, you’ll be ready for any scenario;
  • Forget what being a loner is. Create your own support community so that you can always rely on someone and use connections if needed. It can be your friends, family, colleagues, etc.;
  • Don’t be scared of changes and try to go towards them. Look for new experiences, visit all kinds of events that are related to your work and get in touch with people that might share their knowledge with you.

Flexibility is not necessarily something you are born with. It is something you can easily develop if you step out of your comfort zone.