The importance of being an agile leader is not a new concept, however mastering it continues to be challenging. Today, we’ll discuss why Leadership Agility is important, what’s getting in the way of doing it well and how to improve agility at work.

Why is Leadership Agility Important?

Every day you face challenges that are new because your industry is changing, your company is becoming more global or your business and people are becoming more complex. Regardless what the reason is, there is an increasing demand to meet deadlines with a sense of urgency.

The sheer volume of information that is available fuels peer pressure to be first, the best and original.

The amount of work is not decreasing; in fact, you probably have more projects on your radar screen than in the past. The work is driven by changes in customer demands, a dwindling workforce, new technology, innovation, more regulation and budget issues.

Despite these factors, your company is looking for rapid change, faster business results with a focus on short-term goals. That is why Leadership Agility is important to them.

What gets in the way of Leadership Agility?

There a number of behaviors or situations that prevents you from being agile at work. Any one of those can cause you to be less agile at work; several of them may create paralysis or be career limiting.  Some of those might include:

  • Procrastination
  • Too many meetings
  • Not enough time
  • Poor prioritization
  • Failure to address urgent vs. critical action items
  • Trying to do more than ability permits
  • Company politics
  • Not saying “no”
  • Taking too much time to get the work done
  • Ineffective multitasking
  • Email 24×7
  • Second guessing
  • Juggling multiple responsibilities

Often you don’t realize how much these behaviors affect your performance until it is too late and they affect your career progression.

How do you Improve your Leadership Agility?

Commit to doing something differently. Don’t try to make all these changes at once. Pick one suggestion and when you have incorporated it into your daily routine, select another one. If your number one leadership agility challenge is not listed, simply do the inverse of what is not working for you today.

Here are some suggested ways to improve your leadership agility:

  • Don’t attend meetings that are not critical to your role
  • Leave cell phone off during work time or check it at specific times – not all the time
  • Close email temporarily to concentrate on getting your project done
  • Sign out of Instant Messenger
  • Don’t take on more responsibilities that prevent you from getting your core work done
  • Read emails once; act immediately or delete them
  • Stop micromanaging and doing other people’s work
  • Avoid over-scheduling yourself
  • Block out work time on your calendar
  • Focus on one project at a time
  • Do not take work home – give yourself time to recharge
  • Give your attention to the phone call or meeting and quit multitasking
  • Take your lunch break and give yourself a mental break

Bottom line, to be more agile, you have to say “no” to something.

If you have a tip on how to improve Leadership Agility, share it below.