6. Leadership Lives Everywhere in the Organisation

Agile Leadership needs to live and breathe at all levels of an organisation

Leadership lives everywhere in the organisation, not simply with the people who have “Manager, CEO or SVP in their title”. Leading is not just something done by the leaders, i.e. a person who leads a team, a group or an organisation. This principle is about seeing leadership differently. Agile Leadership always starts first by looking at Self (individual level). Individuals are part of teams or groups which in turn sit within an organisation. An organisation itself is part of the wider society, community and the country in which it operates. This whole ecosystem can be seen as a complex adaptive system, dynamic and continuously evolving.

Agile Leadership should permeate all aspects of an organisation or change initiative. Realising the leadership potential of all it

s people helps accelerate the organisation’s ability to learn and adapt. The work of an Agile Leader is to develop depth in the organisation’s leadership capability by providing opportunities for their people to lead. Mentoring tomorrow’s leaders in the principles and practices of servant leadership sows the seeds for the agile culture to thrive.

Self-Leadership is about having a developed sense of you are, what you can do and where you are going. This is coupled with the ability to influence communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there. Agile Leaders are those who take personal responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable for their decisions. They lead by example and encourage colleagues to behave in the same way.

Team and Group Leadership is about exploring what principles need to be in place for teams or groups to be self-organising and manage change. The work of the Agile Leader is to create an environment where people can realise their potential. Agile Leaders develop leaders; they encourage their colleagues to take responsibility and hold themselves accountable for actions and decisions.

Organisational Leadership is about creating and sustaining a culture where individuals, teams and groups can evolve from doing Agile to being Agile. It is also about recognising and understanding that leadership development is an ongoing practice. This requires commitment to investment in a continuous process of leadership development. By having leadership development pipelines in place, organisations can help individuals realise their potential through developing their Agile Leadership knowledge, skills and capabilities.

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership fits the Agile Leadership model well as it is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people to develop and perform as highly as possible.

The Agile Leader as Mentor

The Agile Leader will take responsibility for bringing on all members of the team, helping them develop to their full potential. In this role of mentor the Agile Leader needs to demonstrate active listening skills and the ability to ask challenging questions. A good mentor also needs to be comfortable being challenged themselves and must be able to give and receive valuable feedback, as discussed in Principle 3. To be an effective mentor the leader must demonstrate emotional intelligence, self-awareness, empathy, motivation and mindfulness… all characteristics highlighted in the 9 Principles of Agile Leadership.

Agile Leadership integrates Servant Leadership, mentoring and personal development; it is an ongoing commitment to developing yourself and your people at all levels in all aspects of leadership.

Action Step:

1. Watch this from David Marquet who turned the worst performing submarine in the entire US Navy, to the best performing. He is Simon Sinek’s hero and rightly so:

2. Then read this:

Click on the image below to download our quick reference guide:

Go to: 7. Leaders devolve Appropriate Power and Authority