Be Flexible … Your Way

Blog 2021-12-14 Flexibility

Many resources on leadership tout that flexibility is a good thing. On the surface, I agree. And … there are also limits. 

I really enjoy working with executives who are servant leaders at heart; I so appreciate the care these leaders have for the people with whom they work. While each is unique in the style of leadership, they often face the same challenge – shifting too much of what they want and/or who they are in order to overly accommodate their employees. 

These shifts can show up in the form of: doing much of the work themselves; allowing missed deadlines; telling team members to wrap-up their day while they continue to grind out the long list of “to do’s” themselves, etc.  

Too much flexibility is also evident in many “people pleasers.” People pleasers often surrender what they need to what others want. The desire to ensure everyone is happy can also wreak havoc – over time, the pleaser can resent the decision to always be the one to adapt; the resentment can surface in martyr-like ways or in passive-aggressive behavior, which in turn, can irritate others. It’s a vicious cycle. 

So, what’s an uber-flexible person to do? Pick the moments where boundaries are important, authentically share what is needed, ask for help from others – and when it is time to be adaptable, do it genuinely and not because you should or are expected to. 

Remember – there are times that call for flexibility; being a brilliant leader is being clear on in when it is that time. 

This Week’s Challenge: Purposefully chose a situation in which you want to be flexible; and then choose one where you don’t. Notice how people react in support of your decision. How did you feel in each situation? On reflection, what would do you differently next time and what would you do similarly? 

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