Agile leadership, what is the difference?

Last week I was in a really interesting event, called “Certified Agile Leadership” course. It was a two-day course, really intensive and powerful.    In the following lines I will share, I hope, some interesting learnings that you can use when you lead your people. The course was led by Olaf Lewitz, from Berlin. He had a really great assistant, Marene Boger.

First, let’s define what leadership is.

Leadership is making a difference with intention.” Such a great quote.

According to this program, a leader should have unconditional positive regard,  using three essential leadership skills: responsibility, curiosity, and reflection.

Within a team, a leader needs to work on three topics: develop relationships, nurture growth and manage context.

Let’s work a bit on each topic:

1) A leader needs to focus on developing trust within the team. Every member of the team should feel welcomed and engaged. Developing trust is a very demanding activity, but also the most powerful one. A leader should manage boundaries and work on an agreement between the team members. How can a leader control boundaries? An agile leader needs to listen to a team with empathy but from the other side, a leader should firmly stand in reality. Also, a leader invites the team members to give feedback on a regular basis.

2) Trust is the essence in nourishing growth process. A leader should have a well developed and clear identity that the team recognizes. Also, the team members should feel good intent from their leader.

3) How a leader can manage context? Just to be present in time and space is fairly enough. Also, for good result leader should be focused on key activities.

In the end, could we answer a question from the title? It is really difficult to explain agile leadership in one article.

From the one perspective, there is no big difference from “classic” leadership styles explained by many books you can find.

But from the other perspective, there is a fundamental difference in mindset and how leadership can be seen in the eyes of the team.

I can’t describe this leadership journey in one single article. But, let’s establish some of the leadership principles to reflect on them:

– Everyone should have an equal voice

– A leader listen and help people to think

– A leader also can ask for help

– A leader is allowed to admit mistakes and say “I don’t know”

– Lead yourself first and have a desire for growth

– Inspire others to grow

– Spend gratitude generously

– Choice, autonomy, responsibility

– Be patient

And for the end, another great quote for agile leader:

Talking about it doesn’t change much. Doing does!

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