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Setting Yourself Up for Agile Leadership in Today’s Chaotic World

Posted on July 15, 2020
Agile Co-Active Leadership

Do you feel like you’re constantly interrupted by the demands of an unpredictable work environment and the world at large? Significant and complex situations appear every day, and there is an expectation that decisions and action must be made in real time.  

Human beings are capable of processing a lot of different situations, but the amount of competing priorities that show up these days can make it difficult for people to accomplish anything with fidelity. As a result, many people choose to extend their working hours to complete projects and assignments off the clock to keep up with their job’s demands.

Working in a State of Flux

All this chaos leaves us as individuals and teams feeling like we are swimming in confusionor existing in a state of flux. It’s hard to lead well and communicate effectively amidst so many changing circumstances and distractions. If we can’t stay focused, then we lose momentum and never quite reach our goals, which is unfulfilling and downright frustrating. 

The key is to adopt a more agile leadership culture. Everyone in a company needs to know the different ways they can contribute to the current problem and solution. Every single person needs to know and feel their value in a team. To stay motivated, people need to feel a sense of accomplishment in every part of their work—from rolling up their sleeves and contributing directly, to supporting an initiative in more subtle ways. Every contributor needs to take responsibility and learn agile leadership.

The New Leadership Model Is Agile

At the Co-Active Training Institute, we help leaders working in all types of organizations and in independent roles become stronger, more agile leaders, especially in chaotic situations. Our leadership approach does not use the top-down, reactive, and blaming leadership model of the past. Effective and agile leadership is achieved by encouraging ourselves and others to proactively take individualized responsibility for every situation that surfaces. Through enhanced collaboration and the elimination of authoritative roles, we can embrace a new leadership model in this tumultuous era. 

What Is Your Default Leadership Style?

When you are in a challenging situation, you may naturally default to one of these five different leadership styles

  • The Purpose-Driven Leader is an individual who knows themself or herself very well, displays confidence, and spends the day completing activities and tasks that align with their values and fulfill their vision and purpose. 
  • The Collaborative Leader tends to form relationships fluidly and feels most powerful when partnering with others. 
  • The Visionary Leader tends to create a lot of momentum and energy in a team by helping everyone understand and adopt a compelling vision. With great charisma, this leader inspires everyone to do their part so the vision will become a reality. 
  • The Servant Leader is adept at listening to others, acknowledging them, and guiding them toward empowerment. They also tend to roll up their sleeves and tackle jobs and tasks that are needed in the moment clearing the way for others to succeed in their objectives. 
  • The Intuitive Leader acts on instincts, using their intuition in each situation. They are sensitive to what’s happening in the world around them and easily gain wisdom from nature. 

Curious about what Leadership Style you typically use? Try this Leadership Quiz to discover your style. 

Embracing Disruption

How do you lead in a chaotic environment? Can you naturally sense what’s needed even when everything around you is morphing? Do you tend to get overwhelmed, or can you see where you can best contribute? Have you ever noticed the different ways in which you could lead through a chaotic situation? 

Check out this insight from Ghassan Khoury and Jeremie Brecheisen in a recent Gallup Workplace article, “The Future of Work Means Managing Through Disruption”:

“If employees are accustomed to a culture of change, they are less likely to feel threatened or overwhelmed when new initiatives require them to adapt.”

These days, embracing disruption is expected in almost every workplace. Unless you’re consciously cut off from the outside world, it is likely that your work is frequently disrupted by meetings, emails, emergencies, phone calls, people, and other external influences. 

It isn’t easy to focus on priorities and see a clear way forward in conditions like this. However, having the agility to step into different leadership approaches when situations arise is one way you can find flow, clarity and balance in this fast-paced, rapidly changing world that we live in. 

Going With the Flow  

At the Co-Active Training Institute, we recognize everyone’s innate capacity to lead. You don’t have to be in a position of power to lead others. By recognizing your capabilities and choosing to take responsibility for your part in every situation, you will begin to experience clarity, flow, and enhanced relationships in your life. 

Taking responsibility can look different depending on which direction you choose. In the Co-Active Leadership Model, there are five directions (leadership styles) available for you. In some situations you may choose to offer support; in other situations you may partner with a colleague to make progress on the initiative. The important concept to grasp is that there are at least five different ways to approach leading through any situation.  

When you (and everyone in your life) live by the principle of “everyone is a leader” and “we are all responsible” for what’s happening in every situation, you will begin to experience a level of agile leadership that allows you to move more fluidly in even the most chaotic environments. 

Expand Your Leadership Range

Most people tend to feel comfortable defaulting to one of the five leadership styles we describe in our quiz. We encourage you to build your capacity to lead in other styles so that you can be more agile and effective in various situations. 

Our Co-Active Leadership Experience course is the most effective way to expand your leadership range. We encourage you to become the type of leader who is fluid, flexible and strategic in every situation. With some Co-Active leadership development, you can expand your ability to use all five leadership styles.

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