Agile workforces are the main focus today. From the Agile software development, Agile Management is now the model of workplace productivity driven by the teams, not the leadership. Basically, teams ultimately function on their own, making decisions on priorities and how things get done. Everyone on the team has a say. So what does an Agile leader do?
“Agile leadership is the craft of creating the right environment for agile teams to thrive.”Wikipedia
The glory of being an Agile Leader is that you only have one job — to take the blocks out of the process for the team. Once the team is considered a functioning Agile team, your leadership job is only to remove blocks that are in the way. You let your team work through the what and how and who of the project and its pieces. Your job is to anticipate, prevent or resolve the stop-gaps so they can continue working on.
Agile Leadership isn’t for the weak
While it might seem easier for the leadership in this model, it’s easier said than done. Great leaders want to ensure success. Agile leaders often have to give the team a chance to experience and work out things that a ‘boss’ would do for you. Agile leaders have to bite their tongue when they want to give the answers and know that there are lessons that the team needs to learn together. Agile leaders have to stop doing work for the team and step back to see how they manage without them. Agile leaders strengthen players and teams by letting them do a lot of the heavy lifting and giving them a say in the project and how they give to it. They give up a lot of control to the team because they know it will make them a better leader. It takes trust and commitment to the team you’ve built.
So what does an Agile leader do?
If we took all the doing and directing out of our leadership, some companies wouldn’t know what to do with their leadership. This is the difference between companies that have long-term growth, Agile style teams, and profitability versus those that focus only on today’s challenges. In Agile structures, leaders have the ability to focus on long-term angles and smooth the way for their teams.
Agile leaders are the company’s long-term visionaries.
They are thinking ahead and seeing how they can make progress easier for their teams.
Agile leaders are bigger thinkers.
They are able to dream bigger about challenges, solutions and future goals. Since they have understanding of many different roles (even without necessarily being an expert at any), they can see how future projects or processes might be beneficial for their team and can propose those innovations or solutions to their team.
Agile leaders are block breakers.
When blocks come along that weren’t anticipated or are unrelated to the normal process of things, the leader can come in and find the way past or through the challenge. Because this one position doesn’t have to worry about how it is impacting his or her direct pieces, the leader can put his/her focus on the challenge.
Agile leaders can take quick action.
If something goes wrong fast, the leader is available to help stop the bleeding. S/he can help break it down to chunks the team can deal with or implement the beginning of a plan.
Agile leaders are always on the look-out for new avenues or better processes.
They are focused on anything that can make the team better and more cohesive. They can bring anything new to the team and present the information for the team to consider.
Agile leaders are looking to learn and adapt.
As technology, business and processes change, so does business. Agile leaders do research on the new tools that can help their team move more swiftly or productively forward. They are on the lookout to find the tools, processes or knowledge that will make their team more communicative, efficient and profitable.
If Agile leadership seems a little unrealistic or impossible to truly implement, you’ll have to explain that to the hundreds of thousands of technology and software companies out there. Agile management is making businesses profitable not just in the right now, but also ensuring that companies have long-term visionary-leaders that are focused on innovation and smooth sailing. Creating a team that you trust, letting them take the helm while you manage the future of the entire fleet is Agile leadership. Are you ready to be an Agile leader?
Think you’re an Agile Leader or want to be?
I will soon be setting up some Agile leadership assessments and I’d love to talk to you about your business. Simply email me and I’ll set up a time to meet and talk about your team, leadership style, and business. Email me here.