Leadership agility, or how well a leader can balance all of the challenges they face to achieve their objectives, has consistently remained one of the key leadership differentiators among the companies OnPoint has worked with.
Agile leadership helps companies navigate the challenges of creating effective processes, helping people achieve peak performance, and encouraging innovation and change. The biggest challenge is that focusing too much on any one area (processes, people, or innovation) can cause a lapse in the others.
For example, too much emphasis on innovation may cause a business to reduce its focus on efficiency. This, in turn, results in increased costs, poorer performance, and reduced growth.
Meanwhile, although dealing with talent issues may increase employee satisfaction—helping with engagement and retention—it may also compromise the organization’s ability to maintain low costs and efficiency.
By balancing the conflicting needs of people, processes, and innovation, agile leaders can help their organizations respond to change, maintain efficiency, and develop people in a way that contributes to long-term success.
The question is: How can your organization create agile leaders to help it achieve long-term success?
The Skills of Agile Leadership
A while ago, we discussed the five core competencies of truly agile leaders. Those competencies were:
- Situational Awareness. The ability to understand how external and internal events can impact the company’s effectiveness. Crucial for adapting to changing circumstances and helping employees do the same.
- Systems Thinking. Knowledge of how different systems can interact and the ability to anticipate how changes to one system may impact others. Useful for structuring changes in ways that minimize negative consequences.
- Prioritization Skills. A combination of planning, time management, and the objective assessment of organizational goals to help balance long-term objectives with short-term needs. Necessary for keeping the organization on track in the face of constant emergencies.
- Self-Awareness. The ability to objectively assess one’s own skills, motivations, and emotional state. Self-awareness helps leaders understand how others perceive them, which is useful for interacting with and influencing people.
- Personal Integrity. The ability of a leader to project an image of being honest, ethical, and/or trustworthy. Personal integrity has an enormous impact on a leader’s ability to acquire and maintain the trust, loyalty, and support of those around them.
These five competencies have consistently proven to be correlated with agile leadership. However, developing these skills takes time and attention.
With this in mind, here are a few tips for developing each of the five skills.
Develop Situational Awareness
Understanding the significance and impact of a particular event or trend, and identifying an appropriate response, requires a solid understanding of both the internal and the external environment.
Part of developing situational awareness is consistently using critical thinking to probe beneath the “surface” of events and ask: “Why did this happen?” “What were all of the contributing factors that led to this outcome?” and, “How will this affect my organization’s people and processes?”
Another part of developing situational awareness is creating an extensive network of contacts through which leaders can remain apprised of major events and collect a variety of perspectives. These networks can be developed in a number of …read more
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