Being flexible and able to adapt to different situations is just as important for companies as for individuals and especially so for leaders. While times are tough and the company seeing stagnation and possibly even cuts, the leadership style employed should be different and while there is rapid growth and everything seems possible. Being able to change the leadership style is appropriate to the current situation is the mark of a great leader. Particularly during times of growth could be extremely hard to keep expectations in check, to promote responsible creativity and to ensure consistency.
Keeping expectations and check never came easy to me given my natural exuberance, curiosity and outgoing personality. It is very easy to get excited and start losing focus; and since it’s hard to do it on the inside, than it is at least twice as hard to project onto others. Managing the expectations of your team and tempering spirits can save you a great deal of trouble if there is a turn for the worse or simply just a plateau. Keeping expectations and check should not equate to being pessimistic or cynical; to put it simply, it’s the ability to present both rational cons as well as the pros when presenting plans and establishing goals. This balanced approach helps to calm youthful exuberance yet not stifling creativity.
And since creativity is so important to business growth and long-term viability, it is important to actively encourage it within the team and as a general corporate culture. A good trick that I was given by somebody smarter than me was to hold a gut feeling meeting when deciding which projects to start. During such a meeting numbers would not be allowed and only intuitions and feelings should be discussed. The results were always extremely creative even if not always feasible. Taking the results and then adding numbers to them allows team members to draw their own conclusions and assess the risks while developing a corporate responsibility mentality.
I also find that during times of rapid change with consistent growth, a corporation can develop an hyperactive atmosphere. This is why it’s very important for leaders to constantly drive home the idea of consistency, especially when talking about deliverables. It would only take one or two flawed projects to change the reputation that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Adhering to SLAs and ensuring that milestones are kept can sometimes be detrimental to the popularity of the leader however, negative results and lack of profitability would do much worse. This is one’s of the reasons why especially during the good times, to lead effectively one must put the ego in the background and maturity in the foreground.
Experiencing highs and lows in the economy and changing one’s leadership style according to the present environment can forge both a great leader and a solid business.
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