Olga Keating
25 Feb 2019
Emotional agility and agile leadership.
Live long and prosper!
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How can leaders create agile organisations with emotional humans naturally resistant to change?
Fortunately, unlike Vulcans, we don’t have to suppress our emotions… Also, fortunately, we do not have to use the Vulcan greeting, — how do you make your fingers separate like that anyway???
First and foremost, being agile is a psychological phenomenon, then it is a state of mind and only then it can be translated into a way an organisation operates. "If your workforce is emotionally agile, they can successfully cope with the turmoil and take the organization to the next level", Laura Goodrich, Co-founder of On Impact. According to Susan David, PhD the psychologist at Harvard Medical School, it is impossible to cultivate an agile environment within organisations without first having agile people.
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So what is emotional agility, exactly?
In basic terms, being emotionally agile is responding to change and challenges mindfully, productively and in a calm accepting way. It is being open minded and giving change a fair chance. According to Paul Goyette, VP of Global Performance, it is about being in tune with one’s emotions but it doesn’t advocate suppressing them. Let’s leave that to Mr Spock and his fellow Vulcans, shall we?

Because emotional agility is complex and delicate agile transformation is too. It is an intricate and iterative process (pun intended!). It is almost like developing new positive habits, in that it takes conscious effort before becoming second nature.
What role do leaders play in this?
A journey to agility requires all people to be on board, most importantly leaders.

Often teams would have been restructured and coached in agile ways of working but senior leadership remains set in their old ways. This creates instability in the new agile machine and the initiative ceases to exist. However, if leaders are on board they can use their special agile leadership powers to support and advise their people about how to become agile and to create an environment in which they can behave in an agile way.

Agile leaders have the skills to manage fears of failure, rejection and jealousy amongst colleagues and harness optimism, positivity and persistence as suggested by Laura Goodrich. They can encourage employees to be creative, imaginative and to test their ideas and assumptions on a regular basis; to experiment and to make their own decisions.

With promoting a healthy attitude towards the results, continuous validation of one’s thinking or otherwise can help train that agile muscle. Ergo, employees can be taught to adapt their points of view based on actual evidence. They can do it faster and as and when required. It could also be easier for employees to accept criticism when it has been backed up by impartial opinions.
Perfect tool for the job.
Appropriate tools are required to allow for the culture of experimentation where new ideas and assumptions are fostered. Agile research tools can help leaders to train the agility habit in their employees by providing them with the impartial view of their ideas. In environments where decision making is decentralised and ideas come in large quantities such tools can empower agile teams to make fast decisions.

Online validation and decision making research tools are a perfect fit for iterative agile approaches of running a business. They are simple, fast and affordable. Expertly crafted standardised solutions can help with product and ad related decisions, with new ideas and websites.

They are made to be intuitive so that any member of an organisation could use them (not just those who are experienced in market research) and fast, with turnaround between 2 and 24 hours allowing to keep that momentum going so your company can live long and prosper!

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