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Leadership Lesson: Agile Leadership

March 10, 2021

Written by Melody “Mel” Brown, Patient Safety Aim Lead

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught that we should expect the unexpected and change is inevitable. Over the course of the last year, I’ve watched as friends and colleagues have been called to action in new and different ways. Many pivoted rapidly to take on new roles to meet the needs of those we serve under changing and, at times, scary conditions. I’ve thought a lot about how it feels to be in that place and what has made the difference for me… a good leader and a cohesive team.

According to the Center for Creative Leadership, there are 10 characteristics of a good leader. Two of which have been called upon more so this past year than under normal circumstances: the ability to delegate and learning agility. 

In times of stress or crisis, a leader may feel that they must do everything rather than delegating tasks.   Letting go and delegating gives others the opportunity to grow in their positions and become stronger team members. I’m reminded of the saying in the Navy SEALS: “People do not rise to the occasion. They sink to the highest level of their training.” If as leaders we are not delegating and giving others the opportunity to hone their skills – we are failing them and ourselves when it matters most.

Once delegation is commonplace, learning agility, the ability to know what to do when you don’t know what to do, can then be tackled within teams that now have more responsibility. Working together for problem-solving and forming cohesive relationships can be key components of strong, effective, and productive teams. From the words of Maya Angelou, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

May we all learn from the pandemic that it is powerful to ask others for help, delegate to others, and work together for the betterment of those we serve.