Sanger Faculty Champion Dr. Sue Ashford Explores the Power of “Flexing” to Develop Leadership Skills in New Book

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Books, Self-Leadership

Small behavioral experiments in daily life can lead to tremendous personal growth and leadership development, according to Ross School of Business Professor and Sanger Faculty Champion Sue Ashford.

But how do you change your behavior, develop soft skills, and achieve personal and professional growth? Through the art of flexing. 

Ashford introduces flexing — a technique individuals, teams, and entire organizations can use to learn, grow, and develop their skills and knowledge with every new project, work assignment, and problem — in her new book, The Power of Flexing. Flexing empowers you to embrace any challenge and adapt to any change, yielding practical, valuable takeaways that ensure growth. 

Most importantly, The Power of Flexing is a system that can make you a more effective leader, Ashford said. This framework for developing leadership skills is something Ashford teaches regularly at Michigan Ross. 

“Flexing captures a very different approach to developing leadership and developing yourself generally,” Ashford said. “It’s not predicated on your organization tapping you as having high potential and then putting you through growth experiences. Rather, it starts from the idea that you own your own growth and lays out a set of practices tied to learning from your experiences that you can use flexibly in your life to grow when and how you most want.

“One of the core practices in this system is trying something new — trying a set of experiments with your behavior to see if you can improve things with one approach or another. That’s flexing. Because personal effectiveness is not something you get to define on your own, another core practice is seeking feedback, which allows you to understand how others react to you and to flex in response,” Ashford continued.

The practice of experimentation and feedback may sound familiar to those familiar with the Sanger Leadership Journey. Our framework was built upon some of Ashford’s earlier work in this area, the Mindful Engagement Model. We’re excited about Ashford’s new work in the area and we believe The Power of Flexing is a complement to the Journey model.

Learn more below.

The Power of Flexing by Sue Ashford
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