Agile Leadership in the time of the “New Normal”

The term “agile leadership” is one which applies to the leader who is very conscious of the need to be adaptive and who doesn’t believe that there is a “one size fits all” type response to situations. Never before, has there been a greater need for such agility or for such situational leadership responses. For leaders who have been used to demonstrating and implementing a “control and command” form of leadership/management, this “new normal” environment as a result of the pandemic, will be threatening to them and will test their inner strength.

Today’s global environment, whether it be in schools, universities or business, both large and small, will require CEO’s and Department Heads to problem solve in ways they have never considered. It will require the combined thinking, expertise and willingness of colleagues to share experiences, talk about failures and learn from individual and group success. High levels of uncertainty will require short term solutions rather than long term strategy. Problems will require a flexible and adaptive response to arrive at the solutions as the project/problem is in progress. This is not how most CEO’s like to work. It will require emphasis on observation, listening, collaborating and the gaining of feedback from multiple stakeholders “in the moment” rather than gaining “evidence” over a longer period of time. Innovation and creativity needs to be emphasised rather than control.

Today, the key to an organisations success will be largely the result of a CEO genuinely empowering people and giving them the flexibility to use their own intelligence and judgement to explore alternatives as necessary to find the best solution.

If we strip all this rhetoric back, it will require the “Leaders” to give up any sense of “I know best” and truly believe that everyone in their organisation is a “leader”. Never before has it been more important to recognise that the combined creativity of “ALL” is the variable which will keep the organisation moving forward and keeping pace with the rapidly changing environment.

In schools, our educators have been brilliant, in responding to the pandemic with creativity, innovation and determination – in many environments this has occurred with little professional training, limited resources and minimal time…….so true creativity has emerged……using the one variable which was present pre pandemic…..and that is the passion, commitment and professionalism of teachers.

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