An old Chinese proverb says that the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher. Now, like no other time in recent history has adaptability been more important to a Leader’s success. Adaptability – the ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances, surroundings and people mixes – is a crucial skill for leaders, and an important competency in emotional intelligence.
A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit, entitledGrowing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the next five years include: the ability to motivate staff (35%); the ability to work well across cultures (34%); and the ability to facilitate change (32%). The least important were technical expertise (11%) and “bringing in the numbers” (10%). This is one of the reasons why this blog touts relationships and motivation for the growth of a Leader! This willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changes, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders.
Here are a few tips for developing adaptability.
- If you catch yourself shooting an idea down, take a moment to consider what mental scripts you might have developed, which are influencing your thoughts. Mental scripts are ways you have been patterned to think over the years through experiences and life, whether voluntary or involuntary. They are so automatic that you have to be intentional to change them and improve your leadership.
- Do you habitually insist on going “by the book”? Is this actually necessary for every issue? You can have a great effect on your Team’s productivity if you paid more attention to the effect that this might have on the people involved. What would happen if you applied creativity to standard procedures?
- Consider that when we push the envelope, when we intentionally put ourselves in situations that are outside our comfort zone, we grow. Are you trading on old knowledge? Do you need to update your skills? Are you relying too much on your title as the sign of authority? In today’s working environment, surrounded by highly intelligent and specialized knowledge workers, this no longer works. We can adapt by continually evolving and reinventing ourselves.
- When we are in a position for a length of time, we may tend to become accustomed to the status quo and fail to challenge the process in order to continue to grow and improve.Here is a question to ask yourself: “If you left tomorrow, what would your successor do to improve things?” Now consider making these changes yourself, today!
Until next time, free yourself to accept and lose the potential of your Team!
There are many pieces to the puzzle that draws all the elements together for successful leadership. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is a key piece of the puzzle for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress, or a leader who remains in self-control, and calmly assesses the situation?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence usually know what they’re feeling, what this means, and how their emotions can affect other people.
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped make the idea of EI popular, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness– If you’re self-aware, you always know how you feel. And you know how your emotions, and your actions, can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you’re in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. And it means having humility.
- Self-regulation– Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control. This element of emotional intelligence, according to Goleman, also covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability
- Motivation- Self-motivated leaders consistently work toward their goals. And they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work
- Empathy- For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.
- Social skills –Leaders who do well in this element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they’re experts at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project. Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They’re rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they’re also not willing to make everyone else do the work. They set the example with their own behavior.
The more that you, as a leader, manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence. So, if you are wanting more help in any of these areas, contact Ascend Business Strategies and we will be glad to assist you in any way we can! You can reach us at: 1-866-549-0434
Until next time, Lead on! Rod