How ABW leverages Leadership Development


My earlier blog explored leadership development and its relationship with the choice of workplace strategy. Where leaders who lead creatively, can contribute to better business results. And where a workplace strategy such as Activity Based Working would in itself be a lever for developing such creative skills.

In this blog I would like to explore one of these creative skills, as identified by The Leadership Circle, but specifically in relation to some of the demands that an Activity Based Workstyle can put on leaders. The creative skill I am referring to is ‘Relating’. It has particular relevance when coping with the following challenges commonly known as risks, when moving towards an ABW environment:

  • How do I know what my team members are doing?
  • How do I know they are working and delivering their contribution?
  • How do I know they feel happy and connected to the team?
  • How do I develop the individuals to make their best contribution?

As defined by The Leadership Circle, Relating as a dimension can be expressed and understood by these statements:

How ABW leverages Leadership Development

So to demonstrate how the skill of Relating might apply to, and help, some of the challenges listed above, I have selected the first two statements and connected them to two of the challenges:

(1) Caring Connection  +  How do I know what my team members are doing?

When a leader is able to connect deeply, is compassionate, and able to form warm and caring relationships, there is an inherent level of trust between leader and employee. In the caring relationship there is a two-way respect that naturally leads to a shared ownership of the objectives of the business and a pride in succeeding in it together.

(2) Fostering Team Play  +  How do I know they feel well and connected to the team

If the leader creates a positive climate that supports people doing their best, promotes high levels of teamwork through his leadership style, and shares his leadership with the team members, a strong culture is developed and built around the importance of the team and the idea that the contribution of many often surpasses the work of an individual working in isolation. Through that culture, and recognising it’s benefits, the team is compelled to self-manage to keep that connection strong.

The interplay of leadership styles and work styles are subtle but powerful.

It’s true, Activity Based Working does make specific demands on leaders and the rewards for challenging oneself to meet those demands are great and cannot be underestimated. But to get these rewards a leader must be willing to work on and leverage developing these skills and then the benefits can be felt at many levels of the organisation, not least of all the balance sheet.

If this has sparked an interest, you may be curious to explore more:

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