16TH AGILE MONTH Agile Month Spring 2023

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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

Diary of a Leader Vol. 1

„We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader…“

 

I’ve been humming this song for a couple of days now and I can’t put my finger on why.

I haven’t seen this Disney movie in ages, and being a girl, Peter Pan syndrome is not the first thing that crosses my mind.

I’ve been doing some self-search recently and I realized that our brain is the most complex organ in our body. Sometimes we have thoughts, actions, feelings that seem out of the blue, but when you dig deeper into it you find out that our brain has its logic that can be fascinating and a bit scary sometimes.

 

 

 

 

 So, what’s with this song? 😊 

 

At work, we are in the middle of our training and certification ride and we are fastening our seatbelts tighter since the dates are approaching.

One of the very important roles that we are trying to bring closer to our community is a role of a leader.

I told you – our brains are fascinating 😊

 

Let me shed some more lights on this connection.

 

Leadership is making a difference with intention

 

We have a children’s book character Peter Pan who leads a group of others who are called „Lost boys“. With his charisma, fearless attitude, mischievous and playful manner he persuades more children to follow him. He even got a real fairy to blindly and devotedly follow him to the point where she almost lost her wings protecting him.  Ok,  we shouldn’t go that far, but I am sure that you have come across some people in real life who are charismatic and who are very popular and admired by others. Perhaps we can say for them that they are born LEADERS, and we wouldn’t be much wrong, right?

So, except for the flying, what does Peter Pan have that others find appealing and what is more important, how can we become like that?

I believe that we are all born leaders, and that later in life some circumstances make us forget our capacities and value.

 

In our leadership training, we reflect on who we are, what are our skills, abilities and strengths and how can we motivate and encourage others to share our common goals and vision. We all want to be successful, to have our business strive and progress and to work in motivated and proactive teams. The first step is to start from ourselves since the image we what to bring to life has to start from us.  You can learn how to work at your best and become better at what you do, how to take responsibility and make better decisions and make progress faster and faster. Also, we work on developing relationships with ourselves, teams, employees, customers, market and suppliers and we learn how to set direction, measure progress and set systems where we can grow and develop further.

 

So, let’s throw some magic dust and start flying!

 

Taking up a leadership course was my recent decision. It gave me a new perspective on who I am, where I am and where I want to be and how to self – inspect. But I am that kind of person – inquisitive, reflective and empathic so it came like a second skin to me.

Still, being a leader is also about motivating others and since I best function with familiar surroundings, I decided to start with my family who endures all my experiments stoically😊 and implement what I have learnt on the course. So, stay with me in the next couple of texts about leadership in practice.

 

Jelena Milanović, Agile Serbia 

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: 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)