The oxymoron “permanent impermanence” is inherent to our era. We have entered a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) world, in continuous disruption and shaped by a phenomenal acceleration of the pace of life and the absence of visibility. Forecasting is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
The advent of digital technology had already led us to review our operating modes, our managerial and organisational practices. The Covid-19 crisis and the anxiety-inducing geopolitical context go beyond.
Our ways of living, thinking, and acting are now subject to repeated turbulence.
We were used to a calm sea to bask in. Now it has become rough and we will have to learn to swim, or risk drowning. As leaders, this means you no longer have a choice but to adapt to each situation.
A crucial need for chameleon-like transformation
This implies behaving differently: leaders must innovate in action and in thought.
In order to survive in this destabilising ecosystem, leaders must take into account a new paradigm: remote management. This requires them to quit the “command and control” mode and to become a manager coach: rethinking relationships, adopting crystal clear communication to avoid misunderstandings, setting up a rigorous organisation, and promoting collaborative work, trust, and autonomy.
In order to survive in this destabilising ecosystem, leaders must take into account a new paradigm: remote management. This requires them to quit the “command and control” mode and to become a manager coach.
So how do you, as a leader, become a chameleon?
It will be easier if you work in an innovative, collaborative, human-centric organisational environment. In other environments, leaders should set an example and inspire their teams to be fulfilled and committed. To get started on your path to “chameleon leadership”:
1) Focus on yourself
Most employees are overworked, mentally and physically. This has increased with working from home, even though remote working also has many benefits.
According to a study carried out in 2021 by the French trade union CGT (Confédération générale du travail) on a sample of 15,000 people, in France, “working time and workload have increased for 47% of employees, compared to 24% in 2020”.
The first thing to do: stop and step back
Turn off the “autopilot”, the one that makes you act like a superwoman or superman, multitasking, timelessly, tirelessly. Of course, you can do it, but at what cost? You manage your children and their activities, your work assignments, your team and your water damage at the same time, but… your brain and your body do not keep up with this frenetic rhythm: burn-out is not far away. This is a growing issue in organisations, overloaded by administrative tasks, regulations of all kinds, excessive procedures, and lack of personnel.
Think about the following questions:
Are my professional and personal lives balanced? Have I clearly identified my priorities and am I able to address them or am I getting overwhelmed? Am I always exhausted? Am I fulfilled in my work? What warning signals are my body and mind sending me? What could I do to improve it?
A few solutions:
- Conscious breathing will help you get out of “automatic pilot” mode. Every morning, practice your breathing exercises by concentrating only on your breathing, you will already have a feeling of calmness. You can go further and try “mindfulness” meditation.
- Delegating: do you have to do everything by yourself, whether at the office or at home?
- Sport and leisure activities: jogging, exercises at home or in the gym, reading, cultural outings…
- Personal organisation: what would help you to empty your head in the evening after an exhausting day of work? Is it writing down your tasks each night for the next day or visualising your weekly schedule on post-it notes displayed on the wall? Should you leave some “free” slots in your agenda precisely to get centred? Should you take a break at noon instead of having lunch in the office?
If you doubt the benefits, the correlation between well-being at work and performance has been proven. In a 2017 GALLUP study, a happy employee is 2 times less sick, 6 times less absent, 31% more productive and 55% more creative. By following these steps, you will take the time to ask yourself the right questions, free your head from mental overload, remove bodily tension, and rediscover your authenticity.
2) Free yourself from barriers
We are too often locked into ways of functioning that result from compliance with norms, codes of conduct, and procedures that are not always relevant, frequently inappropriate, and even counterproductive.
However, sometimes the barriers are not related to our environment. Most of the time, we are our own enemy.
We have limiting thoughts, beliefs and values that come from our upbringing and our childhood experiences. They prevent us from acting authentically and keep us in unsuitable patterns for our development.
In order to stick to these patterns, we act inconsistently with who we really are. We don’t express our “true selves”, so we don’t feel like we belong. As a result, we lack self-confidence, even self-esteem, and we constantly feel obliged to prove our skills, but to whom? Is it really to others or to ourselves? We are going in circles, our issues are not moving forward, we are more and more stressed, more and more tired, intellectually and morally. We have succeeded in creating a vicious circle of our own.
Reflecting on the barriers you face, whether societal or personal, and working to confront them is an important step to reconnecting with who you are, increasing your self-confidence, improving decision making and becoming a better communicator.
3) Adapt your posture to fit the situation and your audience
Once refocused and freed, you are finally in full control of yourself to best address your problems and manage your relationships with others.
You are open and ready to step out of your comfort zone. You can therefore be creative and handle conflicts, challenges and situations in the most optimal way possible. In the end, by following all these recommendations, you will have an impact and increase your efficiency.
Fate is like a chameleon on a tree: sometimes all it takes is a whistle for it to change colour.Malagasy saying