What is “Agile,” Leadership?

In 2011 a group of professionals had a deep conversation about what was holding them back in the workplace. Once that was out of the way, they shifted gears: “If this isn’t working, what could we try instead?” These conversations became…

The Agile Manifesto

People over processes.

Human interactions have more inherent value than tools and procedures. Not to say that processes are lacking in value, but adhering to them can limit progressive conversations.

Software over documentation.

Similar to the above, while documentation is not useless, the product itself should come first. Let your work speak for itself – show, don’t tell.

Collaboration over contracts.

Working with customers to reach a solution – understanding what the issues actually are – is critical, and the ability to solve problems is much more important than the ability to negotiate.

Adaptability over tradition.

Responding to change is more valuable than following plans to the letter. In agile workplaces, the ability to adapt is critical to success. It can be said that the previous 3 values hinge on this fourth value.

Agile Leadership Coaching In Canada

The Agile manifesto also has 12 principles. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery.
  2. Business teams & technical teams must be able to work together. Collaboration and communication between departments is vital, especially in large organizations.
  3. Face-to-face communication is key. Not only will it break up the lull of emails, language tends to be simplified in verbal conversations, so you’re able to convey and receive more information.
  4. Make time for team reflection. How did your last couple of weeks go? What worked and what didn’t? Over time, your team will build good communication habits.

Agile is not a methodology nor a framework. There is no single correct way to apply these values and principles to your situation. Remain confident and open and you will make it work and yield the results your team deserves.

Agile Leadership

History has shown that the strongest leaders are the ones who are the most adaptable. The ones who can think on their feet, accommodate for change, and leave outdated modes of leadership behind. History favours leaders who are agile.

In order to become an agile leader, you must embrace transformation. You can’t count on what has worked once to work forever; the same habits won’t produce the same quality of performance until the end of time.

But agility is not just about being skillful. It’s about being able to bounce back from and process disaster. Agility and adaptability go hand in hand. With agile leadership skills, you can roll with the punches by acknowledging the power and skill your team already possess and take them further than ever before.

An article by Wouter Aghina et al identified the five trademarks of agile organizations as the following:

  1. Strategy: Unite your organization with a shared vision, your group’s “North Star.”
  2. Structure: View the organization as a living organism.
  3. Process: Standardize ways of working and embrace continuous learning.
  4. People: Encourage community, drive, and passion.
  5. Technology: Use next-generation technology where possible.

The primary ideals are alignment and empowerment. Keeping your team aligned with shared goals and priorities will ensure convergence. Empowerment practices facilitate a strong, focused, innovative team.

With Shelisa Bainbridge, you can not only learn the secrets of agile leadership, you’ll be able to internalize them to maximise their values and techniques.

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