Michael Leimbach

VP, Global R&D


Maximize your leadership potential in 2023 with Versatility


Michael Leimbach

VP, Global R&D


Michael Leimbach

VP, Global R&D

The world was caught up in unprecedented challenges in the last few years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic crisis, and global peace and security issues. The pandemic significantly changed how people work as organisations embraced the work-from-home culture, which presented numerous challenges in managing their virtual workforce.

After the pandemic and Great Resignation decimated talent pools, organisations struggled to rebuild amid new cultural and economic paradigms. Now most organisations have shifted to a hybrid work culture, so new challenges have surfaced. People are back in offices, and the workforce today is more diverse than ever.

Can the leaders of today manage the diverse workforce and cope with the changes with the same skillset?

As said by Donald McGannon, “Leadership is an action, not a position”, leaders today need to be aware of the changing scenario, analyze situations, and be versatile to be able to act competently. Versatility is a skill that is very crucial to leaders today. While many things have changed in today’s hybrid work environment, the fact is that there are no changes in the skills and practices that underlie leadership versatility.


What is versatility?

For today’s leaders, versatility is the ability to:

  • Recognize that people have different communication styles (their Social Styles)
  • Adapt to other people's preferences to make them more responsive and open, and to forge more lasting and productive partnerships.

Leadership versatility enables leaders to take responsibility for managing their communication behavior and minimize interpersonal tension, and keep the team focused on solving problems. This skill also helps leaders to improve innovation, manage complex projects with strict deadlines, and achieve improvements in productivity, efficiency, and employee engagement.

Communication from leaders is very crucial. Training Magazine’s annual survey on leadership development ranked leadership communication skills as the first or second highest priority skill required by leaders. Today, more than ever, organisations need to rely on their leaders to create productive relationships with their constituents.

As the complexity of the business intensifies and organisations become more diverse, the need for more versatile communication skills becomes critical to success. The more versatile a leader is, the better will be his communication skills.

It is easy for an individual to communicate with someone with the same or similar social style. If there are difficulties in communication, it is likely due to unrecognized Social Style differences. As a leader, one must be aware of these differences and should have a deeper understanding of different Social Styles so as to have efficient and effective communication.

Versatility is the most powerful skill that a leader can possess. While versatility is a skill that can be learned, it requires a lot of effort. Leaders not only need to learn about others’ social styles but also learn how to adjust their behavior to make everyone comfortable, even if it comes at the cost of themselves being uncomfortable.

Leaders should be able to identify critical moments such as a conflict or potential conflict in the team, high stress, and interpersonal tensions affecting work.

Managing a diverse workforce takes a skilled leader. Now, with Gen Z joining the workforce, leaders may experience a change in how their team works, behaves, and interprets certain things. The need of the hour for leaders is to develop a greater understanding of all the differences and make adjustments accordingly to reduce conflict and stress and boost productivity and engagement.

Wilson Learning’s Social Style model explains the four primary communication styles which can help leaders to understand different social styles. To learn how leaders can identify Social Styles and build versatility to boost productivity in the team while reducing conflicts and stress, read this article.