In an attempt to be a helpful house guest, I folded my sister's bath towels warm from dryer and stacked them on top for her.  She looked at them, and as only a sister can do, said "you did it wrong, you folded them wrong - they won't fit in my shelves that way." 

 Not perhaps the most diplomatic critic of my towel folding, but it did make me realize that I always fold bath towels the very same way, almost automatically. 

Learning to adapt your leadership style is a lot like folding bath towels.  Your style needs to fit the shelf.  And shelves come in different sizes. 

Your skills, tools and techniques to respond to both opportunities and issues need to be flexible to produce a positive outcome.  Just because you have been a successful leader and "this has always worked" is closing your eyes to changes that require you to adapt and this mindset will see you facing roadblocks. 

3 approaches;
  • Use Participative Leadership - Encouraging participation in decision - making and planning produce an empowered atmosphere for employees
  • Use Transformational Leadership - Handle change, acknowledging and building on creativity to resolve issues.  Give your employees a clear vision, actions and objectives 
  • Use Transactional Leadership - Establish focus and establish routine to produce results

A simple reminder that as the situations and shelf size changes, we need to be adaptable in both how we lead our teams and how we fold our bath towels.