16TH AGILE MONTH Agile Month Spring 2023

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Modern Sensei: Leader vs. Manager

“Managers light a fire under people; leaders light a fire in people.” – Kathy Austin, Management Consultant


Well, it’s not a secret that the leader is a true Modern Sensei. By all means. Observing the whole picture about their personality, behavior and vision, we should respect because of their energy and will to make everything around them better. Being a complete leader is art. But still, it seems that mixing qualities of leaders and managers is common to everyone, right? In the previous article we explained closer what qualities are mainly crucial in leaders life. Especially in business.


Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.


Do you agree with this quote? And can you make a really exact distinction between management and leadership?  Abraham Zaleznik, who was a leading teacher in the field of the psychodynamics of leadership, said that the difference between managers and leaders lies in the conceptions they hold, deep in their psyches, of chaos and order. Managers embrace the process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly – sometimes before they fully understand a problem’s significance. Leaders, in contrast, tolerate chaos and lack of structure and are willing to delay closure in order to understand the issues more fully. So, the best conclusion – business leaders have much more in common with artists, scientists, and other creative thinkers than they do with managers. Organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed, but developing both requires a reduced focus on logic and strategic exercises in favor of an environment where creativity and imagination are permitted to flourish.


“Great leaders don’t set out to be leaders. They set out to make a difference.” – Jeremy Bravo


The terms management and leadership are not the same. Leadership requires habits and features traits that are far beyond management duties. Both leaders and managers have to manage the resources at their disposal, but true leadership requires more. So, what are the main differences between managers and leaders?


#1 Rare vs. copy

Leaders are unique. They are self-aware and work passionately to build a differentiated personal brand. They are quite comfortable in their own shoes and willing to always walk with them. They’re original and transparent. On the other side, managers don’t want (or refuse to adopt) own leadership style and mimic other’s competencies and behaviors.


#2 Taking risk vs. controlling

Leaders have the will to try new things even if they may fail badly. They know that failure is often a step on the path to success. On the other side, managers work to minimize risk. They seek to avoid or control problems rather than embracing them.


#3 Deep relations vs. processes

While leaders focus on people, managers focus on the structures necessary to set and achieve goals. They focus on the analytical and ensure systems are in place to attain desired outcomes. On the other side, leaders build loyalty and trust by consistently delivering on their promise.


#4 Coaching vs. directing

Coaching is never easy. But leaders are good at. They know that people who work for them have the answers or are able to find them. They see their people as competent and are optimistic about their potential. But managers assign tasks and provide guidance on how to accomplish them.


#5 Vision vs. goals

Leaders motivate and activate people to be part of something bigger. They know that high-functioning teams can accomplish a lot more working together than individuals working individually. Managers focus on planning, setting and accomplishing goals.


If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you


And this is completely true. In order to become a fantastic leader, you should go beyond yourself. What this exactly mean? That means beyond your own boundaries, beliefs and ways how to handle team and business as a leader. In the first place – don’t doubt in your capability to learn new things, approaches and paths. Numerous participants said that CAL 1 Course helps them to find really crucial guidelines in order to be better, better and finally – fantastic leaders. Certified Agile Leadership classes with Olaf Lewitz are exceptional each time in our Agile Months. Olaf is an Agile Leadership Guru, a guy who lives leadership in practice and masters foundation of leadership. Just like in video below:


Inspiration for this article was a piece of written art by William Arruda, published on Forbes.

Modern Sensei: Leadership principles

“Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling, ‘I’m your leader!’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.” – Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback


Once upon a time, someone says that true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. One is sure – leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection. In the previous part, we wrote some interesting conclusions. But, before that, we wanna ask you…


…are you a true leader?


And this isn’t a tricky question. If you remembered, we showed that journalists, diplomats, priests, mountain guides, gambler and Japanese zen Buddhist have something in common. They all have a specific trait that makes him/her a leader. In order to have manners of a gentleman or courtesy of a king you must work hard and learn passionately. Being a leader isn’t something that you can get easily. But, in order to be a magnificent leader ask yourself: ,,What are the values that drive your work?” As a Scrum Master or Product Owner, you need to adopt or follow leadership principles. They aren’t just a bunch of guidelines – they actually work as a fuel to move and inspire others to work together for a common goal.

There are so many leadership principles, and yes – they’re all vital for success, but these are our choice:


#1 Learn and be curious

In sense of talking about Scrum and Product Owner leadership, learning is a never-ending process. Leaders always seek next improvements and besides that – they’re always curious about new trends, possibilities and actions.


#2 Leadership is always about people

Communication skills are essential for any leader. Scrum Master who doesn’t communicate with his team, and on the other side – Product Owner with Scrum Master leads to failure. As a leader, you must have the best possible relationship with each member of your team. Influencing is a new trend, mainly expressed in leadership.


#3 Listening is everything

There’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth. As a leader, by listening you catch new valuable information and deeply understand the needs of your team. Turning on your emotional and intellectual sense, you’ll really get a perception of the structure of your team.


#4 Earning trust is hard but worthy

As a leader, to get trust is the hardest thing. In each aspect of business if you wanna earn a trust – give it to others. Scrum Master, for example, must have confidence in the team and believe they can be self-organized. Product Owner with interpersonal skills and real-time actions can understand and convict clients that everything is going to be on time.


#5 Help other future leaders

This is very humble goal. If someone has an aspiration to become a leader, help and motivate him. Thinking about the future is a desirable leadership virtue, right? Leaders must understand the value of education and carry talented employees. Don’t forget: satisfied employee = happy employee.


#6 Admit mistakes

This is maybe the most important principle. Being humble is everything in business when the environment is quickly changing. Mistakes are not bad, they’re showing where you went wrong and how you can improve yourself in the future. Don’t allow people to lose faith in you, even you made and admitted mistakes, you’ll grow in the team’s eyes. And that only matters, right?


So, what are the values that drive your work?


Leadership Principles are a key part of each aspect of business in which you work with different types of people. Principles help us to orient ourselves in complex environments. They guide our actions and decision making. And of course – they encourage responsibility – for you and all other leaders in your organization. Certified Agile Leadership classes with Olaf Lewitz are something that we’re expecting for a long time. Olaf is an Agile Leadership Guru, a guy who lives leadership in practice. His classes are full of practical examples, like in the video below:


Don’t hesitate to jump into a new Agile adventure called Certified Agile Leadership Course with amazing Olaf Lewitz. This is a unique opportunity to learn from the best.





Modern Sensei: Who is a leader?

,,Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done.´´, Ronald Reagan


Drastic times are calling drastic measures or people. These persons are agents of change. And no – this isn’t a phrase. It’s a fact. They have different names, but generally speaking – they’re leaders. And often, they’re not aware of that label because everything comes naturally when we’re talking about their behavior, acts and attitudes. Especially in business.


Their majesty –  leaders


source: gailmarrahypnotherapy.com

The evolution of leaders is a quite subjective matter. We’ve explained this topic in the previous part. And just to remember: leadership is changing and that depends on different factors and surroundings. By simply typing on Google: ”Definition of a leader”, you’ll see that this person leads or commands a group, organization or country. And this is formal and maybe boring definition, right? But, the main question is: ”How you define a leader (no matter where he/she born, works or does in his/her life)?”


The very essence of leadership is that they have a vision


Simple as that. And according to our LinkedIn survey you had various opinions about who is a leader for you. Even 35% of respondents said that a leader is a creative visionary and designer of good working culture. Then 18% said that leaders are agents of change and at the end 12% said that leader is one bold and careful teacher. Generally speaking – a leader is someone who is thirsty for knowledge, experiences and good working people with a sense of fellowship.


,,The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.´´, John Maxwell


Let’s be honest now: this is our vision of leadership…


…and you don’t have to fulfill all of these requirements. 😊

A true leader is someone who (in most cases) has:

  1. communication of the journalist;
  2. enthusiasm of the child;
  3. prudence of the diplomat;
  4. eloquence of the priest;
  5. courtesy of the king;
  6. discretion of the lawyer;
  7. compassion of a nun;
  8. an entrepreneurial spirit of the pioneers;
  9. courage of a mountain guide;
  10. curiosity of the researcher;
  11. endurance of marathoner;
  12. optimism of gambler;
  13. manners of a gentleman;
  14. patience of Japanese zen Buddhist


Product Owners and Scrum Masters are leaders, right?


Of course they are! Product Leadership contains outstanding vision, exceptional product strategy and road map and marvelous product backlog prioritization. What about Scrum Master Leadership? Yes, he/she is a process leader, whose personal skills have a huge relation with desirable leader’ skills.



Nelson Mandela once said: ,,Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front.´´ Do you agree with this? Don’t forget that leadership is a combination of different aspects. It’s not necessary to have all of them, but being an exceptional leader is learning during the whole life.


Are you born with that? Are you a true leader? Tell us your opinion. 😊 


Certified Agile Leadership Course I with Olaf Lewitz (16th and 17th November 2020)