Agile Leadership Style

Agile Leadership Style

Charles Darwin had once commented that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Agility means the capability of rapidly and efficiently adapting to changes and recently, agility has been applied in the context of software development, agile enterprise, and agile leadership. Agile leaders play an important, even essential, role in scaling agility in an organization. Understand how being an agile leader helps in effectively catalyzing organizational change.

What is Agile Leadership?

Adaptability; the ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances and Agility; the capability to rapidly and efficiently adapt to change, is a crucial skill for leaders. It is the art of being flexible under the influence of rapidly changing external conditions. Being an agile leader means being flexible, responsive to change, and willing to learn and adopt new ways, leading to effectively survive and succeed in the complex modern competitive business environment. People who score high on the adaptability and agility competency are able to deal more positively with the change, and they are able to adapt their approach to changing needs and shift their priorities.

Another definition for “Agile Leadership” is the application of the agile principles to the field of leadership. It is encompassing the processes, tools, and rules of Agile to manage teams and projects and develop new leadership paradigms to deliver better results.

Agile Leadership Model:

Agile leaders are leaders who are able to reflect, see possibilities, and reframe their thinking constantly. The traditional Agile Scrum Model encompasses the organization of the project team, roles and responsibilities of the team members, the artifacts, and the rules under which the project team operates to deliver expectations. Agile Leadership includes the work environment as well as the specific leadership abilities expected from the managers and stakeholders to make the project team successful.

According to the Agile Leadership Model, there are five levels of leadership agility:

1. Expert Level (solving key problems):

The expert is more tactical and has a problem-solving orientation. Believes a leader’s power depends upon the expertise and positional authority, acts as more of a supervisor than a manager, and usually too caught up in details to lead in a strategic manner.

2. Achiever Level (accomplishing key outcomes):

The Achiever is more strategic and outcome-oriented, believes that power comes not only from authority and expertise but also from motivating others, operates as a full-fledged manager, and will often accept feedback, if helpful in achieving desired outcomes.

3. Catalyst Level (mobilizing new endeavors and breakthroughs):

The Catalyst is visionary with facilitative orientation, believes that leaders articulate an innovative, inspiring vision and empower people to transform the vision into reality, acts as team leader and facilitator to create a highly participative team, welcomes the open exchange of views on difficult issues, empowers direct reports and uses team development as a vehicle for leadership development.

4. Co-Creator Level (realizing a shared purpose):

The Cocreator is oriented toward shared purpose and collaboration, believes leadership is ultimately a service to others, develops key stakeholder relationships, may create companies or units where corporate responsibility is an integral practice, develops collaborative leadership teams, where members feel fully responsible not only for their own areas but also for the organization they collectively manage.

5. Synergist Level (evoking new and audacious possibilities):

The Synergist is holistic oriented, experiences leadership as participation in a palpable sense of life purpose that benefits others while serving as a vehicle for personal transformation maintains a deep, empathetic awareness of conflicting stakeholder interests, including their own, capable of moving fluidly between various team leadership styles, can amplify or shape group energy dynamics to bring about mutually beneficial results, cultivates a present-centered awareness that augments external feedback and supports a strong, subtle connection with others, even during challenging conversations.

Characteristics of Agile Leaders:

1. They use a democratic approach to management which helps them in enforcing change to the behaviors

2. Provides empowerment to the team members and let them determine how to accomplish their tasks, are focused, and always keep track of the timelines

3. Demonstrate a greater openness to ideas and innovations; applies standard procedures more flexibly

4. Defines the desired vision and continuously adapt to changing situations, unexpected demands, and changing strategies

5. Acts as a change agent within the organization and have the ability to deal with situations they have never dealt with before

6. Makes concerted effort to understand people of different cultures and develops cultural adaptability

7. Are willing to get out of one’s comfort zone and learn continuously, keep upgrading their skills

8. Challenges the status quo; Are open to new ideas

 9. Uses adaptable, methodical and organized approach to problem-solving; are fast and effective problem solvers and tend to solve when faced with new and challenging situations

Books for reading/References:

Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastering for Anticipating and Initiating Change by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs (2007)

Related Links

You may also like Adaptive Leadership Style | Agile Leadership Style | Appreciative Leadership | Authentic Leadership Style | Authoritarian Leadership Style | Bad Leadership Style | Bureaucratic Leadership Style | Charismatic Leadership | Collaborative Leadership | Crisis Leadership Style | Cross-Cultural Leadership | Democratic Leadership | Leadership Styles | Narcissistic Leadership | Lean Leadership Approach | Directive Leadership Style | Emergent Leadership | Facilitative Leadership | Laissez-Faire Leadership | Level Five Leadership | Narrative Leadership Style | Scientific Management Style

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