Today’s leaders, whether it be a start-up environment or a Fortune 100 company, are faced with a dizzying level of complexity. It is a world where every decision can be a trade-off that impacts the bottom line.
So how do leaders navigate these complexities and win?
What it takes to be successful is having the capability to access a leadership repertoire wide enough to cover the broad array of challenges and complexity that leaders confront every day. Coming to the table with a full range of “leadership motion” gives executives the “versatility” to effectively tackle any challenge in front of them. This concept of “versatility” is what we at LDI emphasize in our work with leaders and executives. Many leaders lack versatility and tend to bring the same approach and mind-set to a wide variety of problems. As a result leaders tend to become out of balance in the way that they lead. Versatility isn’t just about possessing the needed skill, it’s also about using it to the right degree at the right time. Our research partners Kaplan DeVries define it best, “Versatility involves deploying your skills in proportion to the situation, neither coming up short nor overshooting the mark”.
If you had to choose between a leader who provided direction and guided people on what needed to be done versus a leader who gave people room to decide how to do their job and allowed them to show initiative which leader would you choose??
Actually, both leadership options are absolutely essential. Therein lies our intent and objective in coaching leaders. Our experience and research tells us that most leaders tend to overvalue one set of behaviors and undervalue the other described above. In doing so, they become “lopsided” and less effective as a leader.
Faced with leadership challenges and decisions, our best coaching outcome would be for a leader to step back, take perspective and bring to the table either of the behaviors noted above. Leaders would then rely on what the situation called for and not an embedded set of preferences that they have historically overused and hence made them less effective.
We coach for “leadership versatility” that allows a leader to choose from a wide variety of possibilities on how to approach and solve for a problem.
If you are interested in learning more about leadership versatility please click on the Leadership Versatility tab to download articles from the Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review.