How to Become an Agile Leader

The last insight, What is Agile Leadership?, noted that leaders are looking for ways to deal with relentless market change. Uncertainty bred by terrorism, major political changes like Brexit and the new Trump administration in the U.S., and shifting regulatory landscapes only adds to massive change pressures.

Leader’s interest is expanding rapidly in business agility, agile, lean startup, and variations as possible answers.  The natural question that arises for leaders is:

What is “agile leadership” … how can leaders be agile and lead agility?

The simple answer:

Agile leadership is good leadership with a “wrong until right” mindset.


That begged the next question for leaders and the subject of this insight:

How do I become a better agile leader?

How to Become a Better Agile Leader - The Criticality of Adaptability, by Mike Russell
In a word:  adaptability.

Adaptability is the single best predictor of sustained success.  And even more so for those who need to lead with agility.  The ability to become a better leader and to adopt a “wrong until right” mindset depends on adaptability.

The good news: you can develop adaptability!  It is mostly independent of IQ, age, and other “born” factors.

The good or bad news, depending on your interest and determination: like learning anything, developing adaptability takes time and effort.

What is adaptability?

Adaptability has two components:

You can begin changing your attitude relatively quickly. Changing aptitude across all 10 dimensions of versatility can take time … possibly a few years depending on how far you have to go.

Don’t let the time factor deter you. You can get better results along the way, even though the improvement journey make take time.

Start now:

  • Believe you can be more adaptable.
  • Assess your leadership.  Do you provide “good leadership” as we outlined before?  If not, find where the gaps are.
  • Ask for feedback from those who know you.  Only about 20% of self-assessments are accurate, so make sure you get a reality check from others.  When do you display adaptability?  When do you not? Is it more of an attitude or aptitude issue that needs improvement?
  • Act.  Don’t worry about making huge changes at once.  Keep the goal in mind, but resolve to take one step or improvement each day. Remember that just a 1% improvement each day will result in 100% in about 70 days.
  • Model. Your journey to becoming more adaptable can inspire and help others do the same.

Becoming someone who is different today from yesterday is first and foremost a decision. Becoming more adaptable as a leader is no different. The good news is that it’s all up to you.

Need help?

If you want help improving your adaptability, contact us.  Our coaching and training can produce 4 times better results than traditional training.

Our management development and leadership development programs help you with both flexibility and adaptability AND offer positive ROI by program completion.

Contact us to discuss your situation and your needs.

By Mike Russell


Statistics:  Dr. Michael O’Connor, O’Connor Associates