In business, great leaders know how to manage difficult situations when they arise with their skillset and experience. However, leadership styles can vary from one business leader to another – some are laidback, and take time to consider their options. Some leaders on the other hand can be more proactive and spontaneous, using their experience and skillset to problem solve. Nevertheless when the words “spontaneous leadership” are brought up, “risk” often comes to mind. However, it is often these types of leaders who are best prepared for a crisis.
Spontaneous leadership is about responding to problems in quick time with a plan of action. Although spontaneous reactions are instant, a leader would have made the decision by drawing on knowledge and experience they have built up over many years. This allows them to instinctively respond to a situation quicker and more effectively than somebody who doesn’t have the confidence and skillset.
Indeed people prefer unscripted dialogue from leaders – they like managers who can speak eloquently without a rigid script. Anybody can read rehearsed rhetoric off a page; yet leaders who can deliver orations naturally are rarer and thus more effective in their delivery. For a leader to do this however preparation is key.
In fact, Forbes writer Carmine Gallo wrote that leaders who sound great “off the cuff” have invariably made a huge amount of effort over time to make their answers sound spontaneous. For Gallo, it is a process that occurs through three steps:
- Listen to the question and identify the category it falls into.
- Launch a prepared answer to the question.
- Bridge the answer with the specifics of what the person is asking.
Bucket answers, as Gallo calls them, exist to help a leader answer a question even if they do not have a solution prepared. Nothing makes a leader look weaker than being confronted with a question they are unable to answer. Leaders do not want to look flustered or indecisive, so seeming spontaneous in reacting to a problem can sometimes be the best course of action as it projects confidence to the workplace. Bucket answers are used to put a leader in the best light when they are being asked tough questions. It is not always about answering the question well, but merely surviving.
Spontaneity in business can be an art. While there are rash leaders who will make sudden decisions based on little thought and rationale, the best leaders work on their “spontaneous” responses well in advance to ensure difficult situations are handled professionally.