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                The adaptive leader asks: “Do you see something different to me?”

                Michelle Sales/23 November 2016
                1 minute read time

                When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Is it similar to what others see? How can you tell? 

                There is much to do to develop our adaptive capability. Developing our self-awareness is a great place to start. One thing about Adaptive Leaders is that they aren’t attached to any one perspective. They’re willing to consider a different viewpoint about everything, including themselves. 

                Once we have a clearer understanding of other’s perceptions of us and how vast the gap is between this and how we see ourselves, we can better relate to them. 

                There are few people who are received in the same way they intend. People will usually respond to us how we come across rather than to our intentions. And so, it pays to spend some time understanding how we come across and adapting the way we express ourselves, so as to better relate to our colleagues. 

                The benefits 

                When others receive us as we intend, it makes for easier communication, constructive healthy conflict and enhanced productivity. We even become happier because we are able to be more authentic and truly connect with those around us. 

                Working in a team that has these attributes feels good. It no longer feels like ‘work’ because there’s less ‘efforting’ and more of bringing our true selves to the table. There’s also a compassion that comes with better understanding others’ reactions to us. 

                So where do we start? Well first, we need to know ourselves a little better. 

                How accurately am I self-aware? 

                Being self-aware isn’t about giving extra thought to our intentions; it’s about attempting to look at ourselves from a different lens. To look from the outside – in and understand the impact we leave behind as well as recognising the patterns that play out in our interactions with others. Adaptive leadership is about being able to step out of our existing perspective and consider another and perhaps many, for the purpose of evolving to something far greater. 

                So how self-aware are you? Is there room for improvement? My answer would be “Always!” Of course, if you’re unsure, you can always ask yourself these questions: 

                • Are you ever surprised by how someone responds to you and if so, does this happen often with more than one person?
                • Are there any patterns forming around how people treat you? Do you find yourself ever saying “why does this always happen?”
                • Do you have difficulty influencing in your role? Do you ever wonder why people won’t listen to you? 

                If knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is the path to empowerment. Being adaptive requires this awareness and openness to consider what hasn’t been considered before. It can be revealing and relieving, as we better understand our relationships with others. If you and/or your team are interested in working on Adaptive Leadership, I’d love to work with you. It’s confronting, insightful and a lot of fun.

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                Michelle Sales/23 November 2016