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The Importance Of Being An Adaptable Leader In The Workplace

27 May 2019

The great Martin Luther King, Jr. himself once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Change in the business environment often occurs at breakneck speed with little or no forewarning. Despite a leader naturally displaying one of many classic leadership styles, flexibility is becoming increasingly important as they are faced with constant changes involving new markets, new competitors, and advanced cultural influences.

Adapting your leadership style to suit a changing market

Regardless of whether you are naturally a democratic manager who appreciates in-depth communication or adhere more to an authoritarian style of leadership, adapting your leadership style to meet the needs of an ever-evolving business climate is vital. There is no right or wrong leadership style, as long as your approach works for both you and your team. It is also not necessary to change your leadership style completely in order to become more flexible. You merely need to nurture certain traits you more than likely already possess in order to remain relevant in a changing environment.

Traits of a highly-adaptable leader

An adaptable leader will, naturally, be able to adapt their thought process to suit varying situations. This will not only help a leader to formulate a range of different strategies, but will also allow for greater understanding within the team structure. It is important that a leader is not afraid to question their own thought processes, and that they are also willing to explore and adapt to the way of thinking of both their team members and their clients. A flexible leader will, often innately, step away from typical analytical thinking to employ less rigid and more colourful contemplations.

Leaders need to plan ahead

Leaders who are adaptable appreciate the fact that adequate planning is essential if they want to reach their goals. Instead of giving up when problems arise, a leader should have a contingency plan in place to keep everyone moving forward towards their mutual goal. Adequate planning also allows leaders to help asses both opportunities and risks that may have a big influence on the organisation. When a leader has a clear understanding of the prospects and risks within the industry, they are able to create suitable strategies to minimise the hazards while maximising the rewards.

Flexible leaders are naturally curious

Curiosity is a very important trait to have as a leader. Not only is it conducive to professional and personal growth, but it also encourages new and exciting ideas. Adaptable leaders make use of an array of actions that enable them to develop their curiosity even further. Leaders who are not afraid to ask questions, listen and observe will be able to naturally adapt to a variety of situations. They will also be passionate about continuous learning, and not fearful of experimentation that can accelerate this learning. Adaptable leaders are also eager to inquire about the perspectives, opinions and approaches of others, and are quick to agree that people other than themselves may have valuable insights and ideas.  

Regardless of what leadership style you employ, you can ensure that you are as adaptable in your approach as possible. Your ability to adapt to various situations will not only boost your own career, but benefit the entire organisation you are representing as well.


If you think you are ready to move into a leadership role in your career, get in contact with one of our specialist recruitment consultants to discuss your options. 028 9023 5456


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