How to Be an Adaptable Leader: 5 Ways to Practice Flexible Leadership

A leader embraces change with his team as he practices being flexible and adaptable in his leadership

Since the onset of COVID-19, the business landscape has continued to change rapidly. What was once the norm for operations, employee expectations and workloads has shifted, with many finding it hard to adjust to the new reality of remote work, the employee shortage and a shifting economy.

As a leader, it’s important to stay flexible and ready for whatever changes happen, whether it be on the organizational scale or on an economic level. You need to be prepared for the future, while staying open and ready to adapt as changes arise. 

Here are five ways to practice being an adaptable leader.

1. Involve your team.

One of the most crucial aspects of staying flexible as a leader is to consult with those around you. Your employees are constantly in touch with the day-to-day operations of your organization and may have concerns about the current state of things or have suggestions on what could be done better.

Take time to regularly consult with your team on what changes can be made. Ask them how they feel current projects and operations are going, and then do what you can to implement their suggestions. Keeping in touch with your team’s feelings is a great way to stay up-to-date and in touch with current affairs.

2. Make small adjustments.

Once you learn changes need to be made, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. Practice picking one area or operation to improve. Start by making small, manageable changes as you move towards your end goal. Once you feel like you’ve set those changes in motion, gradually shift your focus to other areas and slowly change what you can. The more you practice being an adaptable leader and making changes, the easier it will be for you and your team to handle transition.

3. Consult with mentors.

Don’t feel like you have to face major changes and adjustments alone. Talk with your mentors and get their input on what changes need to be made. By consulting with those you trust, you can glean from their experience and insight to help guide you as you begin to make changes. 

4. Reevaluate old ways of doing things.

It can be easy to get caught in a cycle of doing what’s familiar or comfortable. Sometimes, we think that because we’ve always done something a certain way that it is still the best and most efficient way of doing things.

Take time to stop and reevaluate your operations. Ask yourself, and your team, what changes can be made to help things run more smoothly or be more productive. Remember that change is a good thing, and while it may seem challenging at first, it will ultimately help you and your organization to continue to grow and improve.

5. Follow up on changes.

Once changes are made, remember to take time to follow up with your team and those affected by the new procedures. Ask how the changes are working and if more improvements need to be made. Change is a continual process, so don’t be discouraged if your adjustments don’t take immediately or require tweaking.

Change is an inevitable part of any organization. It’s important to stay in touch with your team and to regularly look to improve what areas you can. Be open to trying new ways of doing things and to listening to advice. Once you get comfortable with your team and with growth, you’ll find change much easier to handle as you practice being an adaptable leader.