Once in a while, I encounter a frustration. The frustration of those who are leading a team and find themselves adapting to the members of the team.
In an effort to be supportive, they search for ways to react to what they understand the situation or the needs and desires of the team to be. At the same time, they ask themselves how to reach their goals and how to invite the team to adhere to them.
As they combine both, they feel stretched. Being supportive leads to a feeling to be adapting to others more than they want to. The quest to reach the set goals on the other hand often leads to a feeling of lacking support from the team. Having invested oneself more than wanted then allows a hope that the team will do the same. That rarely is what happens. As much as the team might stretch itself.
There are at least two challenges with such an approach.
If the effort to be supportive is based on an idea of what the team needs, there probably is a lack of information which is being replaced with interpretation.
The other challenge is the understanding of how “adapting” works. Whenever adapting becomes the idea of “giving in to the team”, then the leader has moved to negotiate with his team instead of collaborating. Adapting then serves the idea to win the team over.
A different way to understand adapting is the idea to find things like a common language or a common rhythm. The effort there is to find how both team and leader establish resonance with one another. Finding that resonance doesn’t require to keep it all the time. It’s just there to know when it is there and when it is missing. If resonance is missing the ability to adapt is there to be able to move back from dissonance to resonance. It works, when the invitation to adapt leads to resonance, when it becomes a common effort.