Leading the Way to Flexibility

July 27, 2010 by Rose Cook

If you look up the word “leader”, you’ll find many definitions including “a person who rules or guides or inspires others.”  Personally, I prefer the “inspires others” definition.  Why?….Because inspiring others is independent of authority or title.  And, I truly believe the best leaders are those who inspire, no matter what their level or position.  They aren’t necessarily the most dynamic motivational speakers; they simply ignite passion in others through their actions.  Do you know of someone like that?

At FlexPro, we have many conversations about flexibility in the workplace.  What surprises me most is how many people seem to think they don’t have influence on workplace culture and environment.  Who better to influence change than employees themselves?  You have much more power than you think!  Often, I’ll hear “But, we don’t have flexible work policies here” or “Management doesn’t support flexibility”.  Most people believe (and many have demonstrated) that the ability to work flexibly increases their productivity, work satisfaction, etc… So, why not just do it?  Policies don’t change culture…people change culture.

Here’s my challenge to each and every one of you….

Lead the way to flexibility by doing one or more of the following:

  1. Lead by example:

No matter what your level or position, try implementing some form of flexible work arrangement (telecommuting, earlier or later start/stop time, etc.)  If you are in a position of authority, all the better!  You will inspire the team you are leading.  Just think what a difference you can make with one small action!  A mentor once told me, “You never know who’s watching you and taking your lead.”  So true.  How powerful!

  1. Talk openly about flexible work:

Whether it’s with a co-worker or your supervisor, start the conversation.  You’ll be surprised how many people are in favor of flexible work, and will be happy to discuss how it could work for you and your colleagues.  Someone has to be first.  Be a leader and be the one to raise the subject.  (Whenever I open up this conversation, I love to hear the passion people have for this topic!  It continues to motivate me.)

  1. Become the role model:

If you’ve already been successful implementing a flexible work arrangement, please….don’t keep it quiet.  Tell the world about your success!  Inspire others to follow in your footsteps.  Now, that’s true leadership.

If you’ve been following us at FlexPro, you know how much we love our inspirational quotes, so I’ll leave you with these words from John Maxwell:

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Please join me us leading the way to flexibility.  Each and every one of you has influence in changing the culture of your workplace, one small action at a time…

-Rose Cook, FlexPro CEO


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