I want you to ask and answer the following question as honestly as you can: With the future of business being unpredictable and evolving quickly, how important is it to employ flexible and adaptable managers?
The latest issue of one my professional journals focuses its entire publication on answering this question. Although the article focuses on businesses in general, I could relate everything I read to challenges in the real estate industry.
Rapid technology advances, more diverse workforces, more use of outsourcing specialized tasks, new forms of social networking, increased use of virtual interactions, and the need for online branding capabilities, have all contributed to an interest in this topic.
While I can't cover everything here, one of the insights I thought most helpful concerns a manager's ability to embrace uncertainty and manage it effectively. Hodgson and White, in their book Relax, It's Only Uncertainty, were able to identify some very interesting clusters of behaviors in managers who did this well, and clusters of behaviors in managers who did not excel.
The Adaptive Group (or most successful managers) demonstrated these measurable actions:
- “Mystery Seekers” are fascinated by what they do not yet know. We might describe them as taking a road just to see where it goes. Curiosity is high.
- “Risk tolerators” are not necessarily risk takers, but they have the willingness and ability to make choices with incomplete information. They see mistakes as a way to learn.
- “Future Scanners” are those who want to understand how a business operates, and constantly consider how it will play out in future states.
- "Tenacious challengers” are tireless in solving problems. They continue to seek solutions in a relentless way.
- "Exiters” want everyone to be energized by what they do. Behaviors that come out of this include wanting to make work fun.
- “Flexible adjusters” exhibit two tendencies: the ability to admit they are wrong and the ability to sell change to people whose self interest is against the change.
- “Simplifiers” are able to take complicated ideas and help everyone in an organization understand where they are going.
- “Focusers” have the ability to identify and attack a critical few actions that need to be done, as well as the ability to shift to a different few critical actions at the right time.
Which of these describes you? Which characteristics do you struggle with or wish you possessed? I recommend resisting the urge to become overly concerned with your weaknesses and spending a lot of time trying to overcome them - This would be very difficult to accomplish. Instead, focus on becoming even more purposeful in developing the traits you naturally possess. Then, fill in the gaps by surrounding yourself with people who are good at the other items.
In the next edition, I’ll share the eight traits found in “Restrainers” - those people who aren’t good managers because they resist change.
(Reference: Consulting Psychologist Journal: Practice and Research, Acceptance of Uncertainty as an Indicator of Effective Leadership, June 2010)
Editor's Note: This article was written by Dr. David Mashburn. Dave is a Clinical and Consulting Psychologist, Partner at Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.