16TH AGILE MONTH Agile Month Spring 2023

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Diary of a Leader vol. 3

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

 

Last time you left me in an unenviable situation of making my kids learn how to appreciate their free time with less technical distractions. Hello Sisyphus! 😉

In the light of the Certified Agile Leadership Course I took recently, I was so inspired that I had to try and implement some of the newly acquired skills.😊

To my kids, I want to be a good role model, a leader of change. To do that, I needed to change myself, which is always more or less challenging, but I had solid motives so it couldn’t be that difficult, right?

When it came to my children, it took a lot of persuasion, negotiation and compromise to reach the point where we can say that we share a common goal.😊

I used praise, a reward system, patience and a lot of explanation so that they can understand why is it important to have rich and healthy free time, in addition to tech devoted time that I believe also deserves to exist.

I’m aware that this is constant work, especially in this digital era, but we’ve laid a good foundation and we will go from there – step by step, day by day.

 

For an Agile Leader, it is always good to have an open mind and a desire to improve

 

…so I saw a new challenge on the horizon.

My husband and I have struggled a lot with how to influence on our boys to have good relationship with one another. They are bickering constantly, and it was a good opportunity to help them explore other options.

So, once we defined the area that needs improvement, we decided to visualize our goal – to have our children have a supportive and caring relationship with each other or to put it simple –  to get along.

The next thing was to set a timeframe, let’s say a week for a first phase.

Each child needed to list 5 situations (one per each feeling) that make them feel angry, sad, happy, disappointed and accepted by the actions of the other one.

Most of us react to a situation immediately, without taking time to think about the results of our actions. With our children, we decided to introduce some role-playing to practice the skill of stopping and thinking in different situations. Our goal was to encourage our children to stop and think before reacting. We also wanted them to learn to observe their behaviour and to take responsibility for their actions. So we used reflection.

 

Reflection is the most important tool for becoming a good or great leader

 

Reflection is what a mirror does. A mirror can show us in most cases where the real problem lies and it shows us the only thing that we can really change in life – ourselves.  So, by seeing themselves in the other one and observing their behaviour and reactions in others can lead them to really want to change something and work on themselves.

After several phases – denial, exaggeration, anger, tears, laughter and acceptance they learnt on their own skin what effect their actions have on others and they really wanted to be better.

So, the next phase was to pick a behaviour they want to change and work on that. We named the feeling we want to change with a new feeling we want to create. For example, if my older son always get to choose a cartoon for a family movie night, it makes the younger one feel less worthy and neglected. We want to change that feeling to accepted and valued. So, the most important thing that a leader can ask themselves in this situation when something needs to be changed is – how did I create this, how can I take responsibility for this to fix it?

So, the change starts from us, from within, from introspection. Think about that the next time you are unhappy, moody, angry and just look in the mirror. The answers are there.

 

Jelena Milanović


Changing the world very often starts in ourselves by changing our perspectives and thoughts about each aspect of our life. The change is good and desirable. Leadership helps us to understand some crucial truths that are so valuable in modern business. If you wanna discover how leadership works join us on the upcoming Certified Agile Leadership Course (10th – 11th May) with exceptional Olaf Lewitz.

What do you say: when is the right time for a change?

Diary of a Leader Vol. 2

I don’t know about you, but I like to see a representative of something promote what they represent. I’ll explain. How many times have you changed a dentist because they had bad teeth, or a nutritionist who was 15 pounds overweight, or you changed a hairdresser because their hair looked messy and neglected? Credibility is a very important thing, and a part of credibility is a visual representation of what you stand for.

I recently found myself in a role of a participant on a certified course, which was a new role for me because I am usually a host at these courses.

The course left me impressed or as many would say “fulfilled my expectations”, but after the course, I asked myself a question:

 

What now?

 

When you gain new knowledge that is not your primary business, if you’re not using it in practice, it is highly likely that you will forget it after some time. How do you gain experience and routine in something you don’t do regularly but don’t want to give up?

The course I’m talking about was the Certified Agile Leadership and I mentioned more about the course in my last text here. The course starts from the idea that we are all born leaders. Therefore, we all have an excellent starting point to put the acquired knowledge from training into practice, even if we do not use it in our jobs every day.

Another thing that is a part of the course is working on oneself. Each of us has the potential, abilities and skills to lead our own lives, even the lives of other people, such as parents who use their example to encourage, stimulate, help their children to become independent people. But as with any change, the first spark needs to starts from you. If you want to achieve something and you want others to follow you, you need to be the first one to switch the light for others to follow you, trust you because they see that you yourself believe in what you represent.

Since a family can be seen as a small team, I decided to apply what I learnt in my own backyard, so to speak. The first question I asked myself was:

 

What I want to achieve?

 

I want to be a good role model for my children and a person they will look up to and turn to when they have a challenge or when they want to share successes.

So, we go back to self-work. In order to be a role model for someone and to be able to expect someone to follow and share my vision and goals, I have to set an example myself. My first goal is for my kids to spend less time on their phones. Well, now comes the hard part. To explain to children that phones are not a substitute for socializing, playing and leisure, I should first stop using the phone myself for those purposes. The so-called Catch 22 😊 But I can do it (I guess). The first thing I did is to timebox the time spent on the phone – after work, I limited myself to use the phone no longer than an hour. Oh boy, I couldn’t believe how quickly an hour can pass! I must admit that I cheated several times with the words: “Just this one thing…”, but I had a clear goal, so there was no room for giving up. Stumbling is there to help us grow and empower us to go steadier on the way to the goal.

The next step was to stop using phones at the weekends. I crossed that step much easier because we usually spend weekends outside in nature.  So, since I tested the steps and stayed alive, I was ready for the next step – to gather the team, share my vision and to define our mutual steps together. I left that new challenge for the next week, so keep your fingers crossed, because every change first encounters resistance, rebellion and finally acceptance. See you at the finish line!

 

Jelena Milanović, Agile Serbia team

Model Sensei: Final conclusions

“The effective leader recognizes that they are more dependent on their people than they are on them. Walk softly” – Brian Tracy, worldwide Coach and Consultant

 

We reached the last segment of our destination called Modern Sensei: Leadership. But, basically, it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of one amazing (very often challenging) adventure. And listen – everybody can be a leader. We don’t exaggerate in this claim. But, it takes time, will and belief that you can make great things for you and your team. Being a complete leader is art.

Evolution of a leader, what defines a great leader, why leadership principles are important, what are the main leadership qualities and how you can distinguish a leader and a manager are basic topics for understanding this mindset, right? So, let’s focus on some essential conclusions:

 

Leadership as a secret spice

 

Let’s remind that there are various opinions about who or what is a leader. According to our Linkedin survey, 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 in 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.

 

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or conclude you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Collin Powell

 

Great leaders have a growth mindset and project it onto their teams. Also, great leaders leverage team diversity by creating safe environments where everyone feels comfortable. The latest statistics tell us that only 5% of businesses have implemented leadership development at all levels. Also, did you hear the phrase – the more women in leadership, the better the shareholder ROI? Yes, these statistics said that we need to do more to get women on the executive floor, and why hiring women into an organization that promotes leadership development and growth is essential for success. Do you remember our flawless description of one leader? Let’s summarize:

In order to be a good (and when the times goes by – a fantastic) leader you have to have the enthusiasm of the child; communication of the journalist; the eloquence of the priest; prudence of the diplomat; courtesy of the king; definitely courage of a mountain guide; sometimes discretion of the lawyer; in each situation manners of a gentleman; always the curiosity of the researcher and patience of Japanese zen Buddhist.

In the sense of Scrum Leadership, we can all agree on one – this is a thrilling and never-ending ride. Logically, there are three types of leadership. As the product owner, you lead the product and you are responsible for its overall success. The cross-functional development team makes the design and technology decisions; and the Scrum Master guides process and organizational change, as the following picture shows.

Source: Roman Pichler

 

To be a great leader, you must deeply understand your team

 

And this is one of the greatest facts when we talk about leadership. In order to call (in the first place) yourself a true and valuable leader, you must understand the needs of your team. Of course, Scrum Masters are focusing on processes and does the team fulfill all necessary aspects and Product Owners on communication and clients’ demands.

Don’t doubt yourself, the leader is you. And for that reason, you maybe need guidance – CAL 1 Course with Olaf Lewitz that re exceptional each time in our Agile Months. Olaf is an Agile Leadership Guru, a guy who lives leadership in practice and masters the foundation of leadership.

So, what did you decide?

 

Inspiration for this article was pieces of art written art by Meredith Wailes published on Bloom Leadership and Roman Picher, published on Roman Picher.