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What it Takes to Become and Remain an Adaptive Agile Leader

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Leadership at every level in an organisation and in every role, and the ability to be adaptive in leadership, are topics which have been discussed in a number of publications recently. 

Adaptiveness is considered to be necessary, and the only way to actually get results for leadership in any domain today, according to Brent Gleeson in a post on Inc.  Remaining agile in your thinking and leadership behaviour is crucial to leadership success, according to the Forbes Coaches Council.  

Leadership is not a matter of positional power – leadership can and should be evident at every level in the organisation and in every role.  Ashira Prossack wrote about the characteristics of effective leaders:

  • Be a master communicator, particularly be a good listener and master all aspects of written and verbal communication
  • Be an expert in your chosen field, and be generous about sharing your knowledge
  • Be curious and constantly open to learning new things; challenge the status quo and ask powerful questions
  • Be a teacher, not a boss; contribute and share your knowledge and ideas 
  • Ask for help when you need it – have the humility to recognise that you are part of a team and that together you can solve harder problems and achieve more than alone
  • Don’t be afraid of failure; acknowledging failure and making mistakes is how we learn and grow

The Business Agility Institute knowledge base talks about Leadership Agility as something that pervades an organisation and empowers people to be and do their best:

Don’t forget that it is agile leaders (who may not be managers) who orchestrate and guide the organisation towards business agility. Leaders who help align the organisation to a single purpose, enabling individuals and teams and taking corrective action where needed.

Gleeson says of Adaptive Leadership that

The most successful leaders adapt easily to changing environments and use the right approach for the right situation. Poor leaders do the opposite and fail to make appropriate adjustments in dynamic situations, resulting in disarray and confusion. Clearly articulating the mission intent and allowing the team to execute is critical. Though they must be well-equipped and properly motivated to navigate significant change.

The Forbes Coaching Council provides their advice in the form of 15 Ways to Remain an Agile Leader, covering a wide range of aspects from cultivating your emotional intelligence to learning faster, being courageous and adopting an experimentation mindset.

Impact International talks about the challenges of Leadership in the "volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world and they say

We seem to be shifting from an approach based around problem solving and planning aimed at reducing uncertainty, to a world where progress is made by actively engaging with uncertainty, requiring higher levels of leadership agility. 

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