THE AGILITY OF LEADERSHIP

A change of mindset and behaviors for sustainable performance

Different times demand different types of leaders. Today, organizations are facing changes on a scale comparable to those that preceded the transition from agriculture to industry.

Even if we do not know the exact outlines, our time certainly corresponds to the change from an industrial society to a post-industrial society. Behaviors of leaders must reflect this revolution (Masuda, Bell, Castels).

The definition of performance and success is no longer based solely on productivity but on agility and adaptation to uncertainty. According to economists (IOD London), the future will belong to organizations that accept change as a natural state, not only dealing with complexity but also ambiguity (Mercer).  They must be able to respond quickly to the changing needs of an ever-demanding consumer society.

At the organizational level, agility will mean the ability to constantly question oneself, to adapt, to manage uncertainty, to understand and accept these new contexts. For individuals, this revolution will require new knowledge, attitudes and skills.

The paradox of the new leadership is that agility requires personal stability, a strong identity based on a solid value system that coexists with an open, flexible and adaptable approach. It is much like the ballet dancer who needs to be stable to master and perform new figures.

Certain leadership characteristics such as passion, commitment, discipline, charisma (Weber, Bennis) will coexist with a new state of mind.   This new state will incorporate an entrepreneurial outlook characterized by idea generation coupled with action. Curiosity and the desire to learn will be coupled with forward looking innovative thinking.  Acceptance of one’s imperfection will be tied with compassion towards oneself.  With enhanced resilience and a sense of optimism, leaders will develop new styles of relationship management that will allow them to address difficult situations and the inevitable conflicts that result from change. This diversified set of behaviors and quality of adaptation means that a new spirit will constantly be evolving.

This original framework calling for agile leadership is part of a three-part approach adopted by the Institute for Workplace Dynamics which incorporates self-knowledge and understanding one’s value system (R@W-Resilience), the relationship to others and their interactions (CDP-Conflict) and a new spirit of enterprise and creativity (EMP-Entrepreneurship).  These three approaches help ensure internal stability and the required adaptability for employees, leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs when facing the constant change of these new times. 

We understand that the future demands both stability and agility where agility, creativity and innovation go hand in hand. 
The key question becomes, “what are you going to do to make sure that you are ready?”

Pierre de ROHAN NAQUET, President – IWD Europe
Craig RUNDE, General Manager – IWD Americas

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