Why do you think agility is a term used when talking about successful leadership? Is it because you will need to make decisions and act quickly as a leader? Is it to keep up with the everchanging work environment we see these days? Is it because you need to be able to understand all sides fast, and decide with only what you have? The reality is the answer is all of the above.
Leadership agility is your ability to move, think, understand, act, and decide fast as a leader. You have to know your work space, identify motivations and values that drive not only you and the organization, but your team, maximize creativity, and transition your leadership style and team to a self-organized system.
Assess Your Workspace
As leaders and managers, we need leadership agility to help us understand the needs of the organization and the needs of all our employees. In order to do so, you have to know the ins and outs of your workspace. Who is the go-to employee people rely on for information? Who acts fast and has a “let’s get it done now” attitude? Who steps back and asks all the right questions? Who can you count on for a creative touch?
Getting to know your workspace is more than knowing the layout of your office and the chain of command to the top – it’s also about identifying talent and using individual skills to yield best results.
If you need a catchy flyer created, and an employee in Education Services happens to be great a photoshop and creating copy, you may want to ask that person to help, even if it’s not part of their job description. You have a prospect who wants a deep dive of your sales pitch and the products and services you sell, and the Business Analyst on the product development team can explain the intricacies of the product without being too technical, ask that person to present to the potential client.
You may have people who do not want to work outside of their job description, and that’s part of getting to know your workspace. People often can give you more than what they signed up.
Identify the Motivations and Values
While assessing your workspace, it is important to figure out what motivates your team. Is your team motivated by their commission checks? Are your employees motivated by collaboration with other departments? Is your team motivated by paid time off/vacation days?
Whatever it is, figure it out and use it to get everyone’s blood flowing. If you are able to offer additional vacation days to the person that presents the best outcomes for a project, do it. If you can do quarterly commission check additions that help your sales team compete for the highest revenue for the quarter, do it. If you can get other departments to work together to increase the productivity and attention given to a project, do it.
When your employees see that you are trying to help them grow and push them to be better versions of themselves, you will see results.
Leaders tend to have creative minds; and creativity is not a one-size-fits all term. Some people are artistically creative, some are organizationally creative, some are creative with their problem-solving. Maximize yours. Put your creativity on display. Lead by example.
If your employees see you using your creativity, showing that “no question is a stupid question,” and that you’re thinking outside the box, they will more than likely be less afraid to put their ideas idea out there.
It’s all about leading by example.
Transition to a Self-organized System
A strong, agile leader is organized. That leader will then share their organizational knowledge with others to create a system.
A self-organized system is one that does not depend on or wait for a manager to assign work or give instruction. This is something extremely important because it enables the team to find their own work and manage their timelines and responsibilities with minimal handholding.
Transition your leadership style and team to a self-organizing system will streamline processes, let people know who and where to go with they need something, and will inspire creative and collaborative solutions – no matter what type of job you have.
As a leader, you want to remove roadblocks, you want your employees to succeed, to be more productive and effective in their roles. It relies on trust, transparency, and a team that is open to constructive criticism. An agile leader shares his vision with his team, and they execute on all levels, together.
Mark Zides is the author of The #Pace Process for Early Career Success. Zides is the founder and CEO of CoreAxis Consulting, an award-winning learning and development, and talent management firm. He has a passion for helping companies mold their future, drive growth, and create things that matter, and for helping individuals find the success they've always desired. He lives in Boston with his wife, three kids, and two labradoodles. Please visit https://www.markzides.com
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