“The first time I was called a leader was as a boy scout. I got a training that was fun – I don’t really remember anything about it, apart from spending much time outside. It was cool, I was just a kid, not even understanding what the word “leader” really means. However, over the years, it became clear to me that there was more to it – to leadership and all that stuff…
Many years later I became a boss in a software company. It was difficult at first. Obviously, I didn’t quite understand how a boss should behave, what exactly to do with his subordinates, how to treat them, how to act. I didn’t do a very good job. It was because I didn’t know that I should lead. Much later, I learned how to be a real leader – an effective leader. What did I learn? And what do I know now that would have helped me back then?
There’s no right or wrong way to lead, you just need to find your own way. Your own style of effective leadership depends on two things:
- What you want, and
- Where you stand at the moment.
If you know these two things, you can act, reflect, and improve. And isn’t that what Agility is all about?” – Olaf Lewitz
Agile Leadership is like a product: It grows incrementally and it is deployed continuously as you work with your people. What your organisation does and how they do it – that is all that matters, and that should influence your choices as a leader.
So, how to become a good Agile Leader?
Try to be clearer on who you are and what you want. Learn how to care for others, and value yourself and others in safe containers, where honest expression, deep listening, collective learning and creative dialogue occur. Make clear choices. Try things early, learn and adopt them, and then adapt to every day of your collective experience. This new understanding of leadership will refresh and inspire your way of being, thinking, and behaving as a leader.
But, how to make really good choices based on what your organization does and how it does? How you can get better at making those choices? Can you really learn that?
Of course you can! There are tools and practices valuable for every kind of leader, in every kind of organization.
First, you need to discover what kind of leader you are. Then, learn as much as you can about Agile Organisations (how to create, transform, and sustain one), about Agile Leadership (what that means and how you do it), about Agile Approaches to change (what works and what doesn’t work). Start your journey by changing the way you show up in your organization. Get a new perspective on your personal way of leading. Reflect on how the context influences our leadership, and how our leading affects the context. That way, you can put your leadership into perspective:
- Which way of leading is needed for the growth of my organisation?
- What kind of a leader do I want to be to create the organisation I want?
Arm yourself with knowledge about Agile Leadership.
Learn more about characteristics of high-performing teams. Learn some useful techniques that enable a leader to be present, aware, and engage. There are lots of them like Gemba, Advice Process, Hawthorne effect… Avoid over-influence and micromanagement. Find out which factors influence the organizational culture (e.g. Power distance index, Organizational structures, Leadership beliefs and behaviors, Industry factors). But, what is more important, practice every day everything you’ve learned and, again, find your own style.
This will strengthen your intent as a leader. This will be your journey.
If you want to learn some useful practices and tools that will help you on this journey, there is Certified Agile Leadership course in the next Agile Month, organized by Agile Serbia and Puzzle Software.
The blend of Agile ethos and leadership framework may help the individuals who want to improve their leadership skills, and who work in companies that have yet to discover Agile. The one who’s an effective leader, brings a fresh perspective that revolutionizes one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors of the economy. It can also be an advantage in the companies that are not in the software business.
This is an invitation to a new, more inspired version of leadership, so maybe it’s time to start the journey!