Leadership Versatility

A Leader's Most Powerful Skill

By Michael Leimbach, PhD

We have experienced countless changes this past year and counting. Many of these changes have affected how people work together and, as a result, we have seen a rise in interpersonal conflict and stress, as well as a loss of engagement. We believe versatility in leadership is a skill that can be learned.

What if your leaders could learn a skill that would reduce conflict, increase engagement, and speed up decisions? What if I told you that this skill could increase productivity by up to 56%? Would you be interested?

This skill is called leadership versatility and is perhaps the most important skill for your leaders to develop. Even in today’s hybrid work environment, where everything has changed, the fact is that nothing has really changed in the skills and practices that underlie leadership versatility.

In Training magazine’s annual survey on leadership development, leadership communication skills has ranked as the first or second highest priority skill needed by leaders every year of the survey.1 Leaders who understand differences in communication preferences and learn to adapt their own communication to make others more comfortable are more effective and have more effective work groups.2 As the complexity of business intensifies and organizations grow more diverse, the need for more versatile communication skills becomes critical to success.

Leadership versatility allows leaders to take responsibility for managing their communication behavior and reducing interpersonal tension, keeping the team focused on solving problems, improving innovation, managing complex projects with tight deadlines, and achieving improvements of productivity, efficiencies, and employee engagement.

The more I know about you and the more I know about me, the more I can take responsibility for managing the differences between us.

Michael Leimbach, PhD

Michael Leimbach, PhD, is a globally recognized expert in instructional design and leadership development. As Vice President of Global Research and Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc., he has worked with numerous Global 1000 organizations in Australia, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and throughout the United States. Over more than 30 years, Dr. Leimbach had developed Wilson Learning’s diagnostic, learning, and performance improvement capabilities, published over 100 professional articles, coauthored four books, been Editor-in-Chief for the highly acclaimed ADHR research journal, and is a frequent speaker at national and global conferences. He also serves on the ISO Technical Committee (TC232) on Quality Standards for Learning Service Providers and on the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Advisory Board.