Good leadership demands a high level of agility, which is essential to maintain a balance between the needs of the workforce and the business. These tough times also demand high levels of kindness accompanied by the right business strategies on the part of the leaders across industries. It is not without reason that leaders are assumed to have super brains, capable of processing thoughts in depth.
In the words of P Dwarakanath, HR leader and non-executive chairman, GSK, “A heterogeneous team has people from different backgrounds, but with the same purpose. So, it will have different needs. A right leader is the one who will be able to address all the needs, but with empathy.” Crisis or not, a leader is the one who shows the right way. A company is made of several teams and people, but the goal remains common. In order to attain that single goal, all the leaders need to have skills to address the issues raised by each individual contributor.
“Agile-brained leaders show their qualities during any unforeseen event, not necessarily a crisis. They need to give different strokes at the same time to resolve certain matters,” adds Dwarakanath. Agility is considered to be one of the superpowers of a successful leader. The right agile brain helps one think in various ways and at times across different perspectives. It gives a magical ability to switch seamlessly. Agility doesn’t only mean working different issues at the same time, but also thinking and giving different perspectives to one issue. When an issue is viewed from different angles, it becomes easier to resolve. No question remains unanswered. An organisation comes across such problems (big or small), on a regular basis. So, a leader has to be ready with his agile brain all the time to sustain any shock.
Aniruddha Khekale, group HR director, Emerson Automation Solutions
According to Dwarakanath, “Agility doesn’t just help resolve issues strategically, but also enables leaders to be empathetic towards the internal clients at the time of crisis.” The people working at a company are its pillars, and strong pillars with the right builders make the structure last longer in the race of time. Similarly, the inter-faith between the people and the leaders of the company is highly essential for the company’s structure to stand well. Lack of inter-faith weakens the pillars, leading to the collapse of the entire structure. “Agility helps the leaders not only address the strategic issues, but also understand the problems faced by the employees at different levels. These issues can be efficiently handled by the leaders even while showing empathy towards the employees with a strategic mind, without any adverse effect on the business needs. This, in turn, helps the company enjoy the faith of the people,” explains Dawarakanath.
He further adds, “The right leader is the one who pats the back of his employees whether to show support under stress or to give credit for an achievement. In the absence of such unconditional support, people tend to hesitate while addressing problems, which goes against the business strategies.” Change is a constant factor in every company. Being adaptive to changes is highly crucial, but at the same time, it is important to bear in mind that changes come with certain resistance. Only if we are agile can we deal with it. “Agility is definitely important, but cognitive agility is specifically important because it shows the maturity of the leader,” asserts Dwarakanath.
P Dwarakanath, HR leader and non-executive chairman, GSK
Aniruddha Khekale, group HR director, Emerson Automation Solutions, believes that with the business environment becoming uncertain with each passing day, the choices of people are also becoming unpredictable day by day. He says, “To meet the needs of different sets of people with varying choices, it is important for a leader to be agile enough to withstand the situation, whatever it may.” The latest crisis came down upon organisations overnight, proving how unpredictable situations can be. “Meeting situational challenges head on, is highly important for leaders across all sectors and industries. It is their task to balance the functions and the anxieties of the people in their teams. At the same time, they also need to be anchored to the business strategies. To function in any situation, requires confident leadership. The response of the leaders indicates how they are going to react to a scenario and show the right path for the team to follow,” enunciates Khekale.
Agility is the key to success not just for the leaders, but across all situations of life. At both the professional and personal levels, situations are highly unpredictable. Therefore, the agility of the brain is extremely essential to help an individual face and survive any situation. What is required is a smart enough brain, to come up with the right solution to any problem. In the professional world, leaders rise to power with many such experiences. Therefore, it is highly essential that leaders use their experiences to smartly, to address issues and solve problems with agility, and serve as the perfect guiding force.