Leadership Agility: What You Need to Know

What is Leadership Agility?

In today's complex, turbulent, and competitive business and technology environment, leaders need to master the skills required to become more proactive, collaborative, creative, and agile. Leadership agility is the core competency of agile leaders to make effective decisions, inspire others, bring others along, build the best team, be proactive, develop a culture of teamwork, define objectives, and contribute to strategic initiatives for the enterprise.

 

"Agility is fundamental to leading a team through times of change." - Sandra E. Peterson

 

What drives Leadership Agility?

Leaders' agility is the core reason behind the success of any enterprise or business. Some of the common drivers of leadership agility are listed as below:

 

Being a change agent

With this fast-paced environment, leaders need to accept that change is inevitable, and be prepared to embrace change. For an organizational change to be effective, leaders should initiate and respond to change quickly. If people believe in your decision-making skills, they will trust your ability to drive the change. 

 

Employees need leaders who are committed to their success, seek feedback, make tough decisions, and communicate openly. Leaders who show personal commitment to change and inspire others to accept change play a critical role as change agents for the organization.

 

"If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary." - Jim Rohn

 

Setting a vision and inspiring others

Leaders have a vision that inspires and brings people together. Leaders understand the importance of setting a shared purpose for their teams. Their vision is manifested in their actions and their goals. 

 

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Jack Welch

 

Leaders should strongly believe in their vision. The vision should reflect organizational purpose, motivate colleagues, display the organization's values, and explain the WHYs.

 

Creating a culture of openness, collaboration, and trust

Every agile leader must foster an open environment of trust and collaboration where people can freely discuss their ideas, experiment with their designs, collaborate, have the freedom to make mistakes, and have fun together. 

 

"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins." - Jim Stovall

 

Decentralizing decisions where possible

Decentralized decisions reduce unnecessary delays and improve the flow of work. Agile leaders must understand when and which decisions they must decentralize. Frequent or time-critical decisions that need local context should be decentralized. Other decisions that are long-lasting and have a huge impact should remain centralized. Decentralized decisions empower the team to make decisions.

 

Embracing Lean-Agile Principles

Successful leaders embrace lean thinking and lean principles outlined by the House of Lean such as Kaizen (continuous improvement), respect for people, teamwork, innovation, sustainable flow, and Genchi Genbutsu (go and see). Lean thinking encourages leaders to embrace core values such as respect, integrity, empathy, collaboration, and teamwork. 

 

“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent." - Bill Gates

 

Agile leaders embrace the values written in the Agile Manifesto and promote the 12 Agile principles across their teams. If you are interested to read about 12 Agile Principles, check out this article on Medium.

 

Check out my published books on Agile and Lean:

 

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