What is contextual leadership and how can it help navigate through unprecedented change? — KNOLSKAPE
Compared to the scenario a decade ago, today’s team leadership dynamics are very different. This can be attributed to the increase in unpredictability rate of change in the corporate setting.
Things simply happen faster than they used to, and, if at all, one rarely sees them coming.
Although a stable environment can be effectively managed by having a clear grasp of the initial circumstances, specific goals, and the processes and resources needed to achieve them, this approach is often insufficient today.
Therefore, the conventional top-down, linear, static team management paradigm needs to be modified in order to respond to the changing circumstances rather than being affected by them.
What is contextual leadership?
Contextual leadership is a way of thinking that enables an organization to develop the anticipatory skills and context awareness necessary to detect changes in its environment that may favorably or unfavorably affect its objectives. In a world that is transforming quickly, a preemptive mindset is essential to maintaining an advantage or taking the lead.
Imagine that after instructing you to move as quickly as you can in one direction, your supervisor blows the whistle and instructs you to move in the opposite direction. Imagine if this keeps happening repeatedly. You would eventually become upset by the pointless instructions and the lack of advancement in addition to becoming exhausted. Additionally, since you would no longer have faith in your boss’s sincere intentions, you would be less inclined to run again the following week.
Such situations are being witnessed too frequently in firms as CEOs struggle to keep up with the changing trends or competition. Often, leaders feel like they’re moving in the right direction with short-term results without having any sense of the larger context.
Why does context matter in leadership?
The internet and cell phones have made us more connected, and that has made the world smaller. We must be conscious that business strategies that may be successful in our particular industries and/or markets may not be appropriate for a worldwide clientele.
Context allows you to reduce miscommunication or energy spent running in the wrong direction. Leaders with contextual intelligence may tailor their actions and solutions to the current environment in a commercial setting. They constantly acquire information before making decisions rather than assuming they can apply the same concepts and methods to all business issues.
Don’t undervalue the influence of context on a larger scale either. Each member of our team is managing the epidemic in their own unique ways. Compared to pre Covid-19 times, our employment environment has changed. Each of us now likely experiences more stress on a daily basis than we did before the pandemic. Some team members might work and share their home office with partners or children who are enrolled in online courses.
It is challenging to get into the ‘focus work zone’ when the floor is continually shifting beneath your feet, which can be caused by several factors. Be gracious and adaptable to promote maximum enjoyment and productivity.
As a leader in business, consider these crucial inquiries:
Being more aware of the context will help you avoid making assumption-based errors. Business literature is rife with instances of organizations that established operations abroad but did not sufficiently research the host market. The results of trying to apply the same techniques to novel situations are failure, loss, and, at the absolute least, painful notoriety.
You can better understand distinctions in audiences, institutional processes, and cultural norms by developing your contextual awareness. It can aid you in avoiding making grave errors.
How can businesses develop contextual intelligence in leaders?
Start with awareness
It is beneficial to begin by acknowledging the boundaries of your expertise. Even if you have a lot of expertise and credentials, dealing with novel situations can be difficult.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that other nations and markets will have institutional and cultural differences when dealing with goods and services internationally. Avoid wanting to impart your existing knowledge to a new audience if you’re trying to target a new market niche. Instead, consider the idea that there are multiple important discoveries you need to make as leader first.
This attitude of awareness will prevent you from making snap judgments and encourage you to gather all the data you require before making a decision.
Work with experts
Having limited information at times is acceptable. Being conscious of it and working with people who do have the expertise you lack are the most crucial things. If you intend to broaden your audience or enter a more global market, this is extremely helpful. You can now hire folks from all over the world because of the ease with which technology is available and the present workforce’s inclination to work remotely.
You have several opportunities of recruiting competent remote workers from anywhere, which will allow you to gain knowledge from experienced, learned people across the globe. Consider collaborating with influencers if you intend to grow your market online. This also entails collaborating with influencers in the online sphere. Influencers frequently understand their local target market.
Be willing to experiment
You have the opportunity to explore when you are unfamiliar with the area or the actors present there. Growth marketing is built on high-frequency, data-driven experimentation in marketing. You can learn more about your target market and the market more quickly if you have the ability to experiment and run tests frequently. You have to be willing to design new frameworks and models for product development and marketing when you don’t know what you don’t know.
For instance, in content marketing and advertising, this would entail experimenting with various copywriting forms and methods to determine which ones result in the most clicks or conversions. Split testing must be done in order to focus on what works. Then you can build on these achievements and scale them.
Making data collecting and analyzing as routine tasks will help you manage contextual intelligence. It’s particularly crucial now, as more and more companies adopt data analytics and make decisions based on it. You’ll gain greater insight into your target market, achieve better results, and customize your marketing. Simply adding Analytics to your website and signing up for SEO services are two important ways to accomplish this.
Data, however, must be used for more than just a surface-level function. It must take the helm and direct how your organization operates as a whole. Data silos between teams must therefore be eliminated. As a leader, you should foster communication among staff members from various departments and job responsibilities.
What are the theories of context in leadership?
Situational Leadership Model
On the basis of a parabola, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard created four situational leadership styles. The employee’s level of maturity (independence) is displayed on the horizontal axis on a scale from high to low. The horizontal axis shows the directed behavior from low to high in the opposite way. This refers to the amount of guidance given to the employee. They represent low to high levels of employee support, or conduct, on the vertical axis.
Situational leadership was defined and subsequently refined by Hershey and Blanchard in the 1970s. According to their situational leadership theory, the situation affects how effective a leadership style will be.
According to Hersey and Blanchard, there are four main leadership philosophies:
This situational leadership paradigm places a strong emphasis on flexibility so that leaders can change their approaches in response to the needs of their subordinates and the circumstances.
By acknowledging that there are many different ways to solve a problem and that leaders must be able to evaluate a situation and the maturity levels of subordinates in order to determine which approach will be the most effective at any given time, the situational approach to leadership also avoids the pitfalls of the single-style approach.
At a time when the world is more interconnected than ever, context-awareness in leadership is important. As you grow your clientele or ascend to a higher level in your industry, it is not “safe” to assume that you already understand how marketing and other operations ought to be conducted.
Contextual intelligence and leadership goes beyond what many firms realize-that is, knowing everything possible about their customers. You are taking a variety of features into account, including variations in institutional actors and cultural aspects.
Contextual intelligence is a skill that can be learnt and developed. We have shared a few crucial strategies that you can use to strengthen it. It can help develop your business and make wiser judgments. For more in-depth information, you may request the demo of a simulation-based learning program on the same subject by clicking the button below.
Originally published at https://knolskape.com on August 10, 2022.