Agile Leadership: An Introduction

Category : Agile LeadershipEnterprise Agility



By Vineet Patni | 6 May 2020





The current business environment, where things change at an ever-rapid pace in terms of demand, technology, customer expectations, etc., forces organizations to change how they function. These days, to stay in the race, businesses need to respond and adapt quickly.



Moving from traditional management to Agile Leadership is a better way to facilitate this. Agile Leadership aids organizations in building high-performing teams by sharpening the members’ focus and enhancing their responsiveness to problems/tasks.


Moving from the traditional management approach to agile leadership doesn’t mean the earlier one is passé. A few essences of the conventional method, such as leading with example, having a higher level of ethical values, etc., are relevant even today.


Agile Leadership

In the current era, Agile Leadership is an effective way to deal with complexity in the business. Having good Agile Leaders helps businesses to grow faster and sail through future challenges.


First and Foremost, Agile Leadership is about seeing and treating people as humans, not resources. Consider the organization as a living system, not like a machine. Leaders today must connect well with people. Empathy, curiosity, and respect are the fundamental values that drive Agile Leadership.



You can become an Agile Leader by embracing human skills, such as self-realization, mindfulness, developing a growth mindset, being an agile role model, etc.


Further, step out of your comfort zone and experiment with new ideas; also, think globally and more quickly. You should be able to encounter uncertainties with courage rather than face them with fear. Above all, you must be ready to fall and learn from your mistakes.


Traits of an Agile Leader

~ Be a good storyteller

Storytelling can help agile leaders change how their team thinks, which is a crucial step during the transformation to agile leadership. Your stories should be able to create a vision for what you want from your team.


~ Maintain transparency

Agile leaders should promote transparency and communicate openly. It’ll help to reduce communication gaps; often, communication gaps lower the morale of the team members and reduce productivity.


~ Leading by example

Instead of your words, guide your team members with your behavior. It can boost the members’ morale, gain their trust and respect and create a positive work culture. All these factors ultimately lead to higher productivity.


~ Openness

Agile leaders should be open to new ideas from the team members. It would help if you accepted the given circumstance sans resistance and should know how to use your current resources and talents optimally.


~ Experimental in nature

Agile leaders should create an environment where the members can do experiments and learn from their mistakes. It would be best if you acted as a mentor when experimenting; it’ll aid the members in learning quickly. And at the end, the result of this experiment should be shared with other teams, no matter what the outcome will be.


~ Be a good listener

Agile leaders should listen to their team, clients, partners, and competitors. It helps you understand their needs and comprehend situations. With that information, you can accomplish tasks in meaningful ways. When team members find you a good listener, they’ll collaborate with you quickly and share their ideas, perspective and feedback.


~ Keep learning continuously

Agile leaders should be aware of the changing conditions. A good agile leader must learn about these updates and must be able to formulate possible responsiveness to these changes.


~ Empower the team

The role of the agile leader is not limited to a facilitator. Please encourage the team to self-organize and make decisions rapidly, even without complete information. In short, the agile leader should be able to create a high-performing team.


~ Accept and adapt to frequent changes.

Dealing with frequent disruption is one of the essential traits that agile leaders should have. You should be able to accept the frequent changes, analyze the market and adapt to the changes along with the process. A famous phrase about agile leaders goes like this, ‘Agile leaders must be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ Adapting to the new condition may not be a piece of cake; several challenges await the leader and team members. But they should be quick to try new ideas and bring innovations into their work.


Advantages of Agile Leadership

In the future, businesses will require more skill sets than traditional approaches provide to survive and thrive. The advantages of Agile Leadership are:


~ Meaningful collaboration between the leaders and team members


~ Better communication between the members of the team


~ Faster responsiveness


~ Higher level of involvement of employees in achieving goals


~ Decentralized decision-making reduces delay and improves delivery time.


~ More focus on the organizational level than on functional areas


~ Continuous learning and improvement


About The Author: 


Vineet Patni is the Founder and Principal Agile Coach at ScaleUpAn avid learner and a passionate facilitator, Vineet has been assisting enterprises and individuals in becoming truly Agile. Please feel free to connect with him at 


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the author’s own. The author welcomes and respects any difference of opinion.


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