Competency models tell us what worked well in the past. But what does effective leadership look like in an unprecedented new era where the pace of change is accelerating and success requires the management of increasingly complex relationships?
by Bill Joiner
Co-author of the Leadership Agility book
and President of ChangeWise
What is Leadership Agility?
Leadership agility is the ability to lead effectively when rapid change and uncertainty are the norm and when success requires consideration of multiple views and priorities. It requires a process of using enhanced awareness and intentionality to increase effectiveness under realtime conditions: stepping back from whatever one is focused on, gaining a broader perspective and bringing new insight into what needs to be done next.
Levels of Leadership Agility
Our research shows that leaders grow through a series of predictable, learnable, “agility levels” that are based on well-documented stages of personal development; and as they grow through the following three levels of leadership agility, they evolve from tactical problem-solvers into strategic managers, and then into farsighted, capacity-building leaders, always retaining the skills they gained at previous levels:
• Expert: Leaders who use their technical and functional expertise to make tactical organizational improvements, supervise direct reports, identify and solve key problems, and sell their solutions to others.
• Achiever: Leaders who set clear organizational objectives, lead strategic change, motivate and orchestrate team performance, work across boundaries, and step up to challenging conversations.
• Catalyst: Those rare leaders who operate at this level are visionaries who can lead transformative change, develop agile organizations and highly engaged teams, and collaborate with others to develop creative, high-leverage solutions to thorny organizational issues. (Currently, only about 5% of managers act with consistency at this level).