“In that complex world of digitalisation, sustainability and globalisation, as a leader you must constantly navigate between directive and empowering behaviour”, Heijltjes continues. “Because on the one hand you have to maintain a certain order – after all, you have to deal with a budget, objectives and operate within set legal and moral frameworks – and at the same time you have to keep people inspired because the work is too complex to only follow the rules.
To successfully navigate between these two potentially opposing leadership behaviours, you need to be aware of how you respond to paradoxes and complexity. In stress situations, the default reaction is to close the shutters and fall back on existing (behavioural) patterns that you feel comfortable with. However, another option is to notice that you are doing that and to consciously work on remaining open-minded and curious with the aim of continuing to move forward. With the latter attitude, the chances that you keep your employees motivated and engaged are much greater. However, this requires a certain internal flexibility and resilience. So to be a human leader, you must be prepared to work with how your emotions, behaviour and thoughts interact. That way, you can better understand what you do well and what you still need to learn. If you are willing to keep investigating how that works for you, it becomes easier to navigate a complex environment.”