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Businessweek Archives

Demonstrate Flexibility When Troubleshooting


Unplanned change is a business reality. Behaving constructively and calmly in these situations of surprise and unexpected change is a leadership essential, and can sometimes mean experimenting with something you don’t entirely agree with. Here are some ways you can be flexible during business upheaval:

1. Listen closely to other peoples’ analysis of the problem and summarize your understanding of their ideas.

2. Encourage them to expand on their ideas, allowing them to develop further and think through various solutions.

3. When asking questions, make sure your aim is to help the idea to be successful, and not to shoot holes in it.

4. If an idea has merit, attempt to work with it for a certain period to see if it fixes the problem. When it comes to analyzing your own ideas, check your ego at the door and accept criticism.

5. Whether or not you implement the new idea, be sure to compliment those who were prepared to forward an alternative view. By praising others in this way, you will encourage more of this behavior when something unexpected pops up.

As a manager, it pays to be somewhat malleable. Your flexibility will expose you to new points of view that you may not have considered on your own, and create a culture in which your employees feel free to think for themselves.

Keith Ayers

President

Integro Leadership.com

West Chester, Pa.


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