Fast-Thinking Leaders: How To Respond for Success
If you have been studying and learning leadership for long, you have likely heard “the answer” about how you should respond for success. As though there is one best leadership style and principle. However, here is the truth about quality leadership: you can’t determine best practices without a deep understanding of the unique environment and personalities present in any given situation.
Filters & Flexibility
The same leadership role may require different ways to respond for success: a stern task manager in one case, followed immediately by a compassionate encourager in another. That is why it is so important to filter the information shared through books, articles, and advice through the filter of your ever-changing environment. Some leaders find that they have a niche where their natural leadership style fits best. For instance, you may thrive within a struggling company looking to turn things around, while I may do best in a successful company that is looking to maintain its history and solid foundation. Flexible leaders are able to respond for success in either situation – even when being surrounded by multiple different personality types.
Your goal then should not be to learn a single method of leadership, but multiple strategies and tools. You must develop situational awareness to determine how to respond for success. Sometimes when a leader comes across an issue, a quick and decisive change needs to happen without red tape and lengthy process to slow it down. Other situations might be resolved by a leader who understands the history of the organization, what past attempts at solving the issue have been tried and who is involved in the change.
What better leaders want is to be capable of recognizing and responding to small nuances within a situations, providing the ability to respond for success. Some leaders who struggle with situational awareness have found it helpful to surround themselves with trusted team members with those more likely to notice and communicate these small distinctions. Just asking those trusted team members for their opinions and feelings about an issue can reveal unconsidered perspectives and help guide your best next steps.
Consider Your Options
Another step to developing flexibility within your leadership is to consider multiple courses of action rather than jumping at the first potential solution you find. Considering more than one option is sure to help you see shortcomings in your ideas and better understand the risks and advantages present in the situation.
We live in a society that likes to see situations black and white, as if in nearly all cases there is one correct path to respond for success. However, in reality, many courses of action might lead to similar results with only subtle differences. It is these subtleties that separate good leaders from great ones. These small differences in tone or process, the tailoring of an announcement to best relate to its intended audience, the recognition of past efforts made and influential individuals involved can make a huge difference in the outcome achieved.
So next time you find yourself looking for a leadership resource, try picking up something outside of your usual wheelhouse. Learn lessons from leaders who find success using different paths and methods. Ask yourself what you could learn from them, what situations they might be better prepared for than you. By making these changes, you can eventually develop a wide variety of perspectives from which to view a situation and a wide range of leadership tools with which to respond for success.