There are two types of leaders in the business world. The first see their organisation as a machine made up of different cogs with themselves in the engine room, keeping the pistons pumping as their employees churn out results. All well and good until someone throws a spanner in the works. The second view their company as a living, breathing organism that reacts to every new situation by learning and growing. And while the leader might be the brains of the operation, they understand the being would die without the support of all of the other elements — this is the essence of adaptive leadership.
An increasing number of managers are beginning to realise that sticking to the same old habits and routines not only restricts growth but can also lead to your business collapsing. This is especially true since the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to consider new ways of working. Companies are composed of many constantly shifting components, from workload to resources and clients to objectives. So it makes sense for your managerial style to be equally dynamic.
Here are three reasons why adopting an adaptive leadership style might benefit you and your organisation.
1. Encourages Innovative Thinking
Instead of limiting their staff to traditional tools and processes, adaptive leaders think of the rules as guidelines rather than a strict framework they have to follow. By encouraging everyone to think outside of the box, you provide people with the space to concoct new and inventive ideas that could significantly improve the way you work.
However, be mindful that not every solution will lead to success, and there might be times where mistakes are made, but errors are essential for strengthening your team.
2. Enables Your Business to React to Change Quickly
Unlike traditional leadership styles, adaptive managers don’t fear change — they anticipate it. Whether it’s losing a major client or a global catastrophe like the one we’ve been experiencing recently, there will always be bumps, and occasionally mountains, in the road that businesses will need to traverse.
Unfortunately, unexpected scenarios happen whether you like it or not and in these situations, you can’t simply stick your head in the sand and plough on regardless. The best thing you can do is always have at least one contingency plan on hand so you know you can proactively react at a moment’s notice and continue to progress.
3. Ensures Everyone Has a Voice and Is Heard
Listening to others and hearing what they have to say is at the core of adaptive leadership. These types of managers favour a democratic and participative approach over a concrete hierarchy and go out of their way to gather all of their employee’s opinions, no matter their role, culture or background. The more unique perspectives you hear, the more ideas are generated, leading to better results in the long term.
Help amplify these voices by using Clear Review, a performance management programme with various tools for collecting feedback, enabling you to create and deploy regular employee surveys and providing a safe place for people to voice ideas, suggestions or concerns.
Reassessing your role as a leader and being more flexible and accommodating empowers individuals to develop creative solutions and be brave enough to experiment with different approaches. In turn, this fosters collaboration and improves employee wellbeing, as they’ll believe their thoughts matter and are respected.
Nick Gallimore is the Director of Talent Transformation and Insight at Clear Review, one of the leading continuous performance management platforms on the market, helping your business become more adaptable while keeping employees engaged and productivity at a maximum.