Today one of the most sought Leadership skills is adaptability.
We tend to believe that leaders have a perfect masterplan and everything figured out: isn’t that the reason why they are in that role in the first place?
But even great leaders do not know everything. They do not have a crystal ball to predict the future, and definitely they are not right 100% of the time.
What great leaders do is constantly listening to what happens around them, knowing when it's time to adapt: steering the direction slightly or getting ready to fully pivot.
Yet many managers feel like a fraud to admit they are constantly making adjustments to what needs to be done. I remember a discussion with a seasoned leader doubting himself:
“When you show that you know what you are doing people trust and follow you, when you make something up and do not show confidence you’ll be put in a weak spot, and you have lost your credibility.”
But nobody ever really knows if an idea will work, some things succeed and some don’t. Even when things do not turn out as expected, you are still able to adjust the course, fix that decision, and learn from it.
The hard part is to be comfortable not being in control of everything, and be confident when you show a plan that is not perfect or final.
You can lead knowing that things around you will definitely change and that is fine;
and at the same time be super focused on what you want to achieve.
To do this focus on 3 easy principles:
1. Always know and share your numbers. Too many companies start looking at data only when things are going South. Make sure everyone in your team knows what they are doing and the value they are bringing. If thighs are good, great; if thighs are bad, there will be no surprises
2. Empower people to make decisions, do not let them stay paralyzed waiting for you to tell them what to do; bring them together to find solutions. This happens when the company vision and strategy are clearly shared and information flow doesn't happen in silos
3. You do not need to have everything under control, but you need clear processes and guidelines in place to avoid preventable mistakes. Within those set boundaries let your team be able to experiment and improve over time.
So always have a good plan in place, but remember it’s only a plan.
Be ready to adjust and adapt: sometimes because things didn’t go so well, but quite often you will find that things turned out better than expected.
If you need help to build resilience for you and your team:
Authentic Leader program: for managers feeling increasing pressure of delivering business results and being the charismatic leader that can move teams forward.
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