What is the secret of Agile leadership?

Implementing an Agile leadership approach not only has an impact on employees, but also on management. In an Agile organization, work is done by autonomous, self-managing teams. The employees get more responsibility and work together to decide what needs to be done and how they are going to do it. A traditional, top-down leadership style doesn’t fit in with the development of an Agile mindset, but what does?



Why Agile Leadership is needed

You may wonder whether we need managers at all if the organization is self-managing. The answer is YES! Working with self-managing teams does not alter the fact that all the work they do has to fit in with the company’s strategy. Leadership therefore remains necessary in order to highlight the broad outlines and communicate these to the entire workforce. It is the task of the Agile leader to ensure that everyone is on the same page. In addition, they ensure the teams are strong on their own, so they can work freely on the success of the organization.


”It is the task of the Agile leader to ensure that everyone is on the same page.”


From a controlling to a coaching style of leadership

Nevertheless, in terms of direction, an Agile organization deviates strongly from a traditional one. It no longer involves extensive job descriptions, checklists and KPIs. Agile leadership is based mainly on trust. The most successful Agile leaders give their teams plenty of room to experiment and are not afraid of mistakes or failures. They encourage their employees to grow and get the best out of themselves. For managers who are used to sending memos and controlling at a detailed level, it’s a huge change in their way of thinking.


What are typical Agile leadership qualities?

True Agile leaders have a clear vision. They don’t give order but inspire and motivate. They create a working environment in which everyone can become self-absorbed and work autonomously. What qualities you need to become an Agile leader? We’ve listed the five most prominent features:


  1. The ability to inspire and motivate teams and individual employees.
  2. Good communication skills and a healthy dose of empathy.
  3. The desire to constantly develop yourself and the organization.
  4. A helicopter view and the ability to delegate.
  5. Patience and perseverance. An Agile organization can’t develop overnight.



Become an Agile leader too?

Gladwell Academy organises Incompany Agile Leadership courses. In these, we go deeper into the how and the why of the Agile concept, and the characteristics of Agile Leadership. If you’re interested, just let us know.


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