Tensions Between Flexibility and Inflexibility
Inflexibility is a security blanket for weak, fearful leaders, but too much flexibility creates instability.
Flexibility feels dangers when you doubt yourself or the team.
Inflexibility feels safe. The playing field stays the same. Even if results are disappointing, it’s better to stay the course than face the uncertainty that change implies.
Inflexible leaders push forward when it’s wiser to adapt. As frustrations go up, energy goes down.
Inflexibility demoralizes; adaptability energizes.
- Punish mistakes rather than learn.
- Prefer command and control. It’s their way or the highway.
- Expect ownership but get compliance.
- Wonder what’s wrong with others.
- Feel inadequate and vulnerable when things go wrong.
- Need to be the most competent member of the team.
- Reject highly talented teammates because they are threats.
- Won’t recruit and develop others.
- Feel unappreciated and misunderstood.
- Don’t listen.
Teams stop trying when today’s decisions are constantly reversed tomorrow. Eventually, drifting sets in. Why try if we’re just going to change?
Flexibility frustrates when it goes too far.
Flexibility regarding mission and vision makes everyone wonder where you’re going.
Uncertainty prevents boldness.
Allowing behaviors that violate culture and values weaken organization and leadership’s credibility.
Always be inflexible regarding values and culture.
- Adopt new methods even while clinging rigidly to organizational vision.
- Reassign people in order to better utilize their strengths.
- Eliminate ineffective, inefficient programs. Have the courage to ask what isn’t working and what might work better.
- Respond to recurring frustrations by adapting as you go.
- Remove dead weight from the team.
- Streamline policies and procedures that are outdated or irrelevant hindrances.
- Remain open to new ideas. Listen. Ask questions. What happens if we adopt this suggestion?
Flexibility re-energizes. Rigid leaders push others out and close their ears by default.
What are the differences between good and bad flexibility?
How can leaders be flexible in ways that create energy?
How do you deal with an inflexible leader? You can be as flexible as you like, but if your superiors tick all your “inflexibility” boxes, what do you do?
Thanks Mitch. Great question!
Trying to change people doesn’t work. But learning to address their concerns and speak their language might. Sometimes inflexibility is an expression of being a protector. That’s not all bad. The book Focus has great insights on dealing with this type of leader.
If inflexibility is an expression of fear, the only way to connect is to address fears.
The struggle is you want to push inflexible leaders to become more flexible. That only makes them dig in.
I posted your question on Facebook.
I believe Good Flexibility is exhibited when one can apply a new idea, after analyzing quickly the impact on existing methods.
Bad Flexibilty is running headlong with NO thought weighed against the End game
Interesting… My wife –who by the way occupies some significant leadership roles in the community — says she sees in black and white, while I tend to see in shades of grey. She would freely admit she is less flexible…
Perhaps we’ll read this together at breakfast on Monday..:)
It’s been a while since I read your posts, and this is an excellent post by which to get back in. Inflexibility has to be, as you mentioned, on principles and matter of value. Apart from that, flexibility is needed. You flow like a river to your destination. My last organisation spoke a lot about core human values, but did not preach them. they ditched them at the altar of expediency. This, in my view, is an example of extremely bad flexibility
So Rajiv, when they said they had flexibility, what they actually had was a total lack of principles?
When it comes to treating people, I would say pretty much so
Thanks Dan I really enjoyed this one.
You ask about how leaders can be flexible to create energy.
I learned about the need for good positive energy in sales so I will add my observations from face to face conversations with women. I believe that in some way all the good flexibility you mention is tied to good listening skills. So I will add to that if I may. Good listening skills are very important but it is even more important to show a genuine interest in what the person says.
I know women love it when you listen and show an interest in what they say (it is probably true with everyone). It shows you are interested in them for their ideas and not because of looks or other external factors. If you show an interest when a person is asking about say an inefficient process then they will become more engaged even if you don’t implement all their suggestions.
One way to create good energy is make people smile. I myself love to compliment people on small things again showing sincere interest. I really like those sunglasses you have on where did you get them? I like that color tie it looks good on you. That scent you have on is wonderful, what is it?
So by adding these small things to listening tied to good flexibility you will create positive energy and as an added bonus elicit more engagement.
Being flexible comes with the Territory, when dealing with customers being flexible helps customers make their decisions in most cases, because people do change their minds and plans after having time to think about them. Being flexible brings out ones expertise in seeing a different view after a project has been laid out, although sometimes to many options creates a nightmare.
Sometimes you have to put your foot done and stay the course and leave as is due to cost differences or other circumstances that may dictate the procedure laid out must be followed.
To many choices can really create a quagmire if you let it.
I truly believe being flexible does create positive energy as the clients see you’re working with them.
Thinking changed the world! Flexibility? Causal research …
The real is not to convey behind and beyond the words, to learn only directly,
explosive in its effect on the mind.
It is easy to achieve, provided you do not want anything else.
The unreal is created from ideas and get out of desire alive.
They may have several ideas, but they do not act accordingly.
They play with them, they often have a close relationship with them,
but they do not act according to their words.
But true communication between people takes place not alone on the verbal level.
To build relationships and maintain, requires a loving awareness that manifests itself
in direct actions. Only what you do counts, not what you say.
Benevolence is an internal point of view and attitude – a decision from the heart
to want to be so!
Words are of very limited value, but we overuse and bring us to the brink of disaster.
Our noble ideas are lifted from our base actions. We talk about God, truth and love, about respect and appreciation, but instead of directly experienced, we content ourselves with definitions. Rather than deepen our actions and expand, we refine our definitions and also believe it yet that we know what we can define!
Experience can not be conveyed through words –
they are created solely by the action (self-awareness / self-determination is important). Creations – Actions!
The mentality of inner observation is extremely powerful.
The Persepktive counts. I ask myself: How am I?
How can I increase well-being?
All people develop patterns of thought with which they evaluate their lives.
Here lie the roots!
Here lie the roots of happiness and unhappiness, success and failure
– flexibility or inflexibility … and so on!
These three examples of how thinking affects – good and bad fortune!
Unhappy people consider difficult phases of life basically as final.
(I’m at the end, I can not, etc.).
Conversely, however, falls out the response to pleasant events. (Personality Disorder). Pessimists look pleasant events best as happy accidents.
Happy feel confirmed in their optimistic attitude.
Unhappy people generalize failures in their lives. (I have no luck in love),
however happy to say “I had no luck with this woman / man”
Pessimists always give yourself to blame if something goes wrong.
Optimists look for the reasons for failure only once in the circumstances that led to
the failure to repair it as quickly as they can.
Ergo: the attitude, by my thoughts (the power of thought) I determine to a
very large part of my biochemical “happiness” -Metabolism, I determine the attitude
to a thing and if I, as mentioned above, from the outside impressionable (fateful)
Lucky “search” or the continual happiness find in myself.
I go into resonance – I see myself – in the mirror (in the world) – through my “inner eyes”! Reflection – self-reflection!
I can see this world only realistic when I became a neutral observer!
If I react to something (trigger) – may I ask myself, what is the concentration in me
has the same, or similar portions which are unknown to me – which I hide!
“The repression (defenses) There is something refined, and it is difficult
to expose them. Like a Chameleon tends the repressed reality to change the colors
until they blend harmoniously and seems to fit. Since we do not have to deal with
what we can not see or realize we disguise some truths in which we fear they might
injure or provoke us. “(Larsen)
Counter question – allowed?
Where am I inflexible – in my attitude (thinking), action or in being?
“At the end of all our searching we are have arrived at our starting point
and recognize him for the first time. ”
Every single moment, allows us – you – everything NEW:
– to see – to look at – to be understood – to conceive – to feel – to recognize …
– and every moment is thus an opportunity for a NEW START (rebirth/beginning)
– and something to DO!
Creation versus the creator thought!
Awareness can practice, practice, practice …
How am I? How is trust? What about the SELF SECURITY …
it attracts and inspires confidence. What do I need to be flexible (to be able to)
and what needs the other in order to take it to? 😉
Flexibility? Causal research? The mirror and the shadows (Fear) ?
I was wondering: What should I give – what requirements I need to create,
so that others may be more flexible? Where am I inflexible and/or rigid?
3 ways – we can go: accept, release, change!
Letting go is the art of beds past to rest and leave to the future of free space for design.
Everything else is beyond our fantasy …
… we can create – we can dream – New Creations = working on development?
May it helps 🙂
A wonderful idea: “Let the inspiration, which you wish yourself.
– and thereby change the world … your world, too! ”
🙂 Dan you´re so right – we cannot change other people
– only yourself and our behavior!
Sometimes it is up to us – as we do with our strong persuasion and that,
through a playful lightness, can convince others of something
and how they interact with us! (Relationship >eye level<Leadership)
The answer(s) often we find inside our self (… and intuition is no belly decision)!
Trust is a present, we have to work for …
Every thought is powerful … every action is as noble as the original idea!
There is a second truth behind the truth!<3
How would you suggest handling an inflexible new management team member who doesn’t KNOW they’re being inflexible. Their intention is good, but their execution and dedication to follow the rules to the death becomes such an issue in an industry where you constantly need to be changing and adapting… And flexible.
Thanks Kimberly. I feel your “pain” and wrote about it in the post that follows this one. http://bit.ly/1qH3zrW You may find it useful.
The post that follows this one takes a tactful approach. I’ve written more aggressively on the problem of bottlenecks. One strategy is to minimize their negative impact by keeping them on the fringes of critical activities. Give them tasks they can do on their own.
Here’s a post on toxic teammates:
There’s so much more to this challenge.
You have my best.