Agile Leadership—The Key to Post-Pandemic Success
Agile leaders saw success during the pandemic
During the pandemic, agile leaders and teams thrived. They were more successful adapting to the crisis early on and proved more adept at continuing to innovate and grow throughout lockdown. As we prepare for re-entry, agile leadership will continue to be a key to success for leaders and teams.
On a physical level, agility is about whole-body movement (e.g., the ability to respond to fast-moving targets and pivot quickly). To be agile, you must have the right combination of strength, power, and technique. Agile leadership is similar.
Agile leaders possess the strength to orient, observe, decide, and act quickly. They also possess certain powers, including the power to prioritize, intuit, and process multiple channels of information simultaneously. Finally, agile leaders combine core strengths and powers with the techniques needed to fly at different altitudes.
The foreshadowing of agile leadership
Long before the pandemic, some leadership experts were already writing about the growing importance of agile leadership. And as Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs observed in their 2017 article on leadership agility, the ability to lead effectively in the face of growing complexity is no longer just a C-suite challenge: “Because change and complexity now affect managers at all organizational levels, this is a competency that’s increasingly needed not just in the executive suite but throughout the company.”
If agile leadership is a competency, it’s one that rests on related competencies. A 2018 study by McKinsey & Company highlights three key competencies that support leadership agility: a willingness to evolve and adopt new mind-sets and behaviors; an ability to transform teams by encouraging them to work in new ways; and a capacity to bring one’s agile mindset to the design and culture entire organizations.
Over the coming months, we will be returning to a radically disrupted workplace and world where change and increased complexity seem inevitable. In this new world, the need for agile leadership will be more important than ever before.