What do Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King all have in common? They were all great leaders. Whilst all extremely different in personality and leadership style they were all able to inspire people to take action.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to attend a round table event hosted by Dorset-based strategic branding agency RT, held at the renovated beautiful stately home St Giles House, which is currently occupied by the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury.
It was a fantastic event, chock full of marketing and creative people, innovative business owners and ambitious entrepreneurs. We discussed lots of things – leadership, innovation, inspiration and goal-setting for the future. As a relatively young business, it was fantastic to be in the room with so many experienced and talented people and I was honoured to be part of it, made some great connections and most of all, came away feeling really inspired myself.
The discussions we had as a group of entrepreneurs got me thinking about what it takes to be a good leader in today’s environment, in particular, the importance of being ‘agile’.
Fast-forward to 2018, and with a few more years’ experience under my belt; both as a manager of a marketing team, and part of a senior leadership team within several companies, I truly recognise the importance of leadership agility.
We live in challenging economic times, where change is constant. It’s in these times of change that our business leaders need to become more agile than ever before. There has been much development in the frameworks that describe the ways people lead and the different types of leader. More recently, the concept of agile leadership has grown in popularity.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone, to do what you want done, because they want to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower
Being agile is an essential leadership attribute as agility enables leaders to remain open to new ways of thinking and to continuously learn new skills. It’s well documented that successful leaders are those who make meaning from their experiences, and continue to develop on the job. They show willingness to learn all through their careers, if not their entire lives!
It means adapting and learning from change; adapting to new business strategies, working across cultures, handling different stakeholders and taking on new business opportunities – all of which demand that our leaders be flexible and agile. But can you learn to be agile, and are some of us better at it than others?
If you can do one thing today – challenge yourself: what can you do from today to widen your perspective and stretch your limits to increase the scope of what you do as a leader?