There’s no shortage of commentary regarding what great leaders do: They foster collaborative environments. They encourage playful and flexible workspaces. They listen to their employees.
Great leaders might have a great big vision and be able to talk about it in deeply engaging ways. They might be able to sell this vision to investors, employees and clients alike.
They might be excellent planners, with that magical balance between planning and execution that makes their business run like a well-oiled machine. They might be terrible planners, but extraordinary talent managers and delegators, so that it hardly matters how well they plan. Because someone who is good at it is doing so.
Great leaders might have access to near-endless resources, with the kind of infrastructure backup that can take the hit of a bad plan, leading to public mistakes without threat of business destruction. These same leaders might have 40 ideas in their back pockets, ready to try again with all the necessary material to do so.
What all these examples of leaders have in common is so simple, it’s really easy to forget: Each of these leaders exemplifies a single character attribute, and that is flexibility.
Flexible leaders listen to their advisers, teams and customers, take the input from these stakeholders and incorporate what they learn into their plans. Great leaders consider adaptability a natural requirement and don’t react with automatic fear in unfamiliar territory. Great leaders look at new situations as brand-new visitors to theme parks, concerned with getting out the other side with all their limbs intact but having an incredible time on the way.
If you want to be a great leader, look at every situation with a positive attitude. Consider how you can get your company from where it is right now to where the opportunity at hand presents.
Smartt Principles: Business Acumen for Great Results is a monthly column by Nicole Smartt, co-owner of Star Staffing, one of the fastest-growing companies in America, according to Inc. magazine. As a business and career advice expert, Smartt has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, Fox Business and Wall Street Journal.