Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
LEADERSHIP / AUG. 09, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Building Blocks of Leadership: Adaptability

Leadership is not a skill that can be summed up in one article. Often, one book is not enough to cover or even scratch the surface of all that is required to be a truly great leader. Instead, you should focus on studying the specific skills and implementing them individually into your working life. With repetition and practice, they will eventually become second nature and you can add more building blocks to your leadership abilities.

What is Adaptability?

Bruce Lee said it best when he said “Be like water.” His meaning is simple when you think about it. When water is put into a tea pot – it becomes the teapot. When water is put into a glass – it becomes the glass. As a leader, you need to do act as water acts. Essentially, you need to fit into the container in which you are placed.

This, of course, does not mean you will fit into a literal container. You will fit into the role in which you are needed most. You may be on a team that has a number of specific duties. Through personnel changes you notice that your acquisition of new clients is lacking. As a leader, you need to learn to be the go-to person for that particular role. Through another change of personnel, moral in the team is dipping. Now you must be that individual that keeps moral at the highest levels possible.

Don’t Worry If You Fail

Adaptability is not an easy concept to grasp when it comes to a leadership role. You need to be ready to react to situations that are beyond what you could forecast. You need to be quick on your feet but talented enough to adapt to any situation. Knowing that you need to fill the role of the salesperson does not mean you can fill that role because you want to. You must constantly learn from those that work for you, or beside you.

If you are currently managing a team, show respect to your team for their individual skills. Learn what it is that they do that makes them so good at a specific role. Lead by example, but do not fear asking them questions. If you are leading in a way that people wish to follow you already, they will not look down on you for learning from them. Asking them questions, specifically concerning that at which they are most talented will embolden them to work even harder. They see they are getting noticed and they feel more invested in the team because you are showing them that they are a valuable and talented part of the team.

There is no employee that I have ever met that thinks that their manager is better than them at everything. Most feel that their leader earned the position through hard work, seniority and a willingness to carry the burden of leadership. Singling out individuals, having them train you and showing them respect will do wonders for your team.

Here is a little trick that I learned early in my management career that may just do wonders for you as well. Once the individual teaches you their methods of success, allow them to teach the rest of the team. Set up a time that you can all get together and have that individual train. If you train, you are taking ownership of that particular talent from the individual. Leadership is not about being the center of attention or the person that earns the most respect. Leadership is there for those willing to carry the burden to let others succeed. The burden is heavy and often crushing, but your ability to carry it is what makes you a leader.

Image Via: WallpaperCraft

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