We are living and working in times of rapid change. To be an inspiring, respected, and effective leader you must be a model of adaptability and authenticity. This engenders the foundation for a culture of trust. Your people look to you to build a culture of safety, security, and the opportunity to contribute their best authentic selves. So, what is the link between adaptability and authenticity?
This is part 2 of the 5-part series on Authentic Leadership by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Adaptable leaders build trust and build unity within their teams. Click To Tweet
Your people want you, their leader, to be a reliable source of guidance and support. They need you to handle the ever-evolving environment with a variety of inputs, viewpoints, and choices and to be adaptable to the diversity of their surroundings. This is the first key attribute of being an authentic leader, introduced in my last post.
As Anna Crowe writes in Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture, and an Authentic You (Lioncrest Publishing, 2019), adaptable leaders adjust to people’s unique situations. It requires a confident and, ironically, consistent character.
Adaptability doesn’t mean being fickle, constantly changing course, or bending under pressure. It calls for sticking to principles and plans with consideration, reasonable flexibility, and understanding. Being consistent in how you display these traits allows your people to count on you—to know what they’re getting and what to anticipate. Consistent adaptability provides comfort and support, two important ingredients of fulfillment.
An adaptable approach fosters trust in challenging times and allows you to be true to yourself. People will know where they stand with you. When leaders put on airs, hide their intentions, or contradict themselves, authenticity and trust are compromised. Leaders who remain calm, collected, insightful, understanding and willing to try new ideas demonstrate the trust-building power of adaptability.
As an adaptable leader you know how to build unity within your teams. You avoid power games, politics, and favoritism. You understand how to pull people into a common effort, pick your battles, make appropriate exceptions, meet urgent needs, and make effective changes when necessary. I have also seen leaders who maintain the status quo, rigidly cling to rules and fear new approaches perceived as lacking in authenticity, causing their people to hold back their best.
As a coach, I have seen leaders gain respect and trust when they adapt to the input of others. For example, most teams include people with diverse strengths, backgrounds, personalities, and perspectives. This has the potential to encourage a wide range of ideas and solutions. Authentically considering what your people have to offer and appreciating their contributions affirms them and adds to their sense of fulfillment.