You are a leader – a change maker in your organisation. You know what’s happening in the organisation. You know how to inspire your team and lead them through change.
You are very skilful when you know that change is coming, but how do you cope when the change is unexpected?
It takes a different set of skills to cope when change is not planned, but sneaks up on you. As leader you are expected to cope even if you are unprepared. If you struggle in this situation it may not be your fault. Your brain may not be supporting you.
Neuroscience has shown that leaders who are able to adapt quickly to change have a different brain structure to those who struggle.
The American Psychological Association reports on the results of a survey they conducted, saying “Brain networks in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of the most complex and adaptable leaders — areas associated with self-regulation, decision-making and memory — were more complex and differentiated compared to those of leaders who were determined not to be very complex, according to neuroimaging.”
Adaptability shows itself in many ways.
Not all great leaders were highly adaptable in responding to sudden change. Instead, they were adaptable in their choice of leadership styles. They knew when to work collaboratively on a project and when they needed to take control. They understood their strengths and weaknesses and learnt to draw on skills from within their team.
If you struggle to cope with unexpected change, perhaps you need to stop seeing yourself as the driver and see yourself as leading a team of change agents.
Leadership Development programs which incorporate brain training can enhance your ability to be an adaptive leader. To be adaptive you must have strong connections across the neural pathways in your brain. Brain training builds and strengthens those connections so you can switch behaviours and leadership styles as the situation demands it.
If you are worried that you will break and not bend, all you need to know is that you don’t have to be born with all the skills of a natural leader. You can learn and develop them. Now that’s what I call adaptive.
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