Romer: Real leadership requires flexibility |

Romer: Real leadership requires flexibility

Disparaging words, harsh tones, and pressure never produce positive long-term results. Empowering and encouraging words are what leadership is made of, and this requires leaders to embrace flexibility to achieve consistent positive results.

This is true in business, nonprofits, project management, schools, politics and any other social structure. Businesses need to be flexible to stay competitive and respond to the rapidly changing environment. Being flexible allows businesses to adapt to market changes, respond to customer needs and take advantage of new opportunities. It also helps businesses to be more agile and make decisions quickly, which is essential in today’s fast-paced business environment.

Flexibility can also increase a business’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges, and it can foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Additionally, a flexible workplace can help to attract and retain employees, as it provides opportunities for growth, development and work-life balance.

Substitute organization for business, and substitute employee for stakeholder, and you’ll see that the idea of flexibility holds for any system — nonprofits, schools, governments and teams. Flexibility is a key component of success. Despite the importance of being flexible, it is very difficult for organizations to be flexible if the culture set by leadership doesn’t embrace it.

Flexibility is important for leadership because it allows leaders to adapt to changing circumstances and make decisions that best serve the needs of their organization or team. Being flexible allows leaders to respond to challenges and opportunities in a timely and effective manner, and to find creative solutions to problems. It also shows a willingness to listen to others, consider new perspectives, and make changes as needed, which can help to build trust and confidence among team members. It becomes less about managing and more about leading to meet people where they are to ensure the best possible outcomes.

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Managers set strict, one-size-fits-all policies; with no exceptions, these are the rules, follow along or else there are punishments and repercussions. Leaders recognize that organizational excellence requires flexibility and meeting people where they are. By being able to pivot and adjust as needed, a business can stay competitive and continue to grow.

For example, a company that can quickly adapt to changes in consumer behavior and preferences is more likely to maintain or increase market share. Organizations that are flexible in their operations and processes can also improve efficiency and reduce costs. Being flexible also means being open to new ideas and ways of doing things, which can lead to innovation and new opportunities. It’s not about treating everyone the same; it’s about setting appropriate guardrails and doing what is best for the team.

Flexible policies are important because they can improve employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Offering flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible hours and part-time options can help employees better balance their work and personal responsibilities, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and stress reduction.

Flexible policies can also help businesses attract and retain top talent, particularly in industries where competition for skilled workers is high. Flexible policies can help improve diversity and inclusion by making it easier for people from underrepresented groups to participate in the workforce, such as working parents, people with disabilities and older workers.

An adaptive leader is someone who can change their behavior in response to changes in a situation. They are flexible, showing resilience when things don’t go as planned and bouncing back from failure, seeing it as an opportunity to learn. Our organizations are stronger when we embrace flexibility.

Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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