Flexible Leadership

Flexible Leadership

Flexible Leadership

The population composition is changing. New generations are entering the workforce. In many companies, we are now working with up to 4 generations simultaneously on the shop floor. Baby boomers, Generation X, Y, and Z have all grown up in completely different eras with different values and perspectives. They all come together in your company.

Each generation has its own characteristics, needs, and constraints. The strength lies in the combination of generations in a team, so you can leverage everyone's strengths. Actively encourage knowledge exchange between different generations. This can be done "on the job" and in mutual coaching programs.

Salespeople are gaining more knowledge (supported by data and smart systems). Younger generations seek more autonomy in their tasks. Therefore, the management style needs to adapt. This has implications for teaching leadership styles, considering that each situation and individual is different. Flexible Leadership is often the solution in this context.

The person responsible for sales now manages task-oriented salespeople. This means a different approach to leadership. This person needs to learn how to lead more flexibly. The goal is to make the right choice in how to react or lead in every situation, with every individual. Flexible leadership is becoming increasingly important. This concept is not new, as Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed their situational leadership concept back in the 1970s. Flexible leadership is a modern version of it.

The leadership style of a leader is linked to the observable behavior of individual employees. A leader adapts the leadership style to the situation. The situation is determined by the employees' task maturity and their attitude. Ultimately, four levels of leadership styles can be distinguished:

  • Directive Leadership: lots of instruction from the leader and little attention
  • Supportive Leadership: lots of instruction from the leader and lots of attention
  • Participative Leadership: little instruction from the leader and lots of attention
  • Delegative Leadership: little instruction from the leader and little attention

In practice, new social structures mean that you need to ensure:

  • You make informed choices and do not immediately follow a hype or trend
  • Marketing and sales professionals develop task maturity
  • Managers are trained in flexible leadership