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Agile leadership

Adaptability as the key to corporate success

Agile leadership - adaptability as the key to corporate success

Our working world is constantly changing at breakneck speed. This creates new challenges, which is why the principle of agile leadership is becoming increasingly important – and not just in project management. While traditional management used to be able to plan and control processes perfectly, agile leadership means inspiring and motivating employees with visions and giving them more responsibility. The aim is to create a working environment that promotes creativity, innovation, meaningfulness and constant change. We explain how this works.

What is agile leadership?

Agile management comes from software development, where agile methods are used in response to constantly changing requirements. However, agile working methods not only enable software developers to implement projects more quickly, teams to work more productively and customer requirements to be kept more in focus. It also promotes independence and encourages employees to take responsibility for their work. Methods such as Scrum or tools such as Kanban boards are used, for example. The central basic principles of agile leadership are.

1. Adaptability and flexibility

Traditional managers often work with rigid plans. Agile managers, however, understand the need to react flexibly to change and adapt to new market developments and requirements. This means they are open to new ideas and willing to adapt their approach depending on the situation. Whether it is about their way of working or changing customer requirements, agile managers know how to break away from old methods and entrenched ways of thinking to find innovative solutions and respond quickly to challenges.

2. Empowerment and decentralization

A change from traditional management to agile leadership also means that decision-making powers need to be reconsidered. Instead of imposing decisions from above, it is important in agile leadership to encourage teams to act independently and take responsibility. Agile managers therefore enable their teams to make decisions at the level at which the relevant knowledge is greatest. This greater personal responsibility and autonomy not only increases employee motivation and commitment but usually also improves the quality of work.

3. Collaboration and transparent communication

To promote collaboration between and within teams, agile managers recognize that information must be communicated transparently and openly. Only when the teams have all the necessary information can they make optimal decisions and develop innovations. Therefore, relevant information is shared with the teams and an open dialog is encouraged to avoid misunderstandings and improve collaboration. At the same time, it is also important to ensure that everyone in the team has the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas freely and to ensure that decisions are made using a transparent approach.

4. Continuous improvement, error, and learning culture

Continuous improvement is always part of agile leadership. This means learning from successful projects or challenges that have been overcome as well as from difficulties or criticism that arise. Agile managers, therefore, give constructive feedback to their teams and support them in learning and continuously improving. An open error culture also helps with continuous learning. The aim is not to avoid or punish mistakes, but to see them as an opportunity to move the company forward. An agile manager creates the space and the necessary security for this. At the same time, an agile manager must also be able to accept feedback from team members and take it into account so that the manager can continue to develop.

5. Trust and teamwork

Trust and optimally functioning teamwork are of central importance if a company is to be managed in an agile manner. Managers can only allow employees to work in a self-organized manner if they trust them. It is also important to promote collaboration to be able to make decisions as a team. This creates an environment in which employees can work creatively and share their ideas. At the same time, this creates a solid basis for working closely with customers and incorporating their feedback. In this way, everyone involved contributes to the development of the company, goals can be achieved and changes can be responded to successfully.

The role of the agile manager

In traditional management, managers make decisions and determine which tasks are to be completed or which goals are to be achieved. An agile manager, on the other hand, acts more as a coach or mentor who provides support and creates the necessary space to be able to work in an agile way. In this role, they do not give instructions so much as inspire and encourage the team or remove obstacles. Agile managers therefore show the vision of the direction in which things should go but do not specify exactly how a goal should be achieved. However, they support the team in complex decisions and provide guidance when necessary. They then help to set priorities and ensure that the decisions are in line with the company’s goals.
Furthermore, agile managers ensure that the team has the resources it needs to be successful. This includes both material resources and support in the further development of skills and competencies. The promotion of positive team dynamics and continuous feedback are also part of the tasks of an agile manager.
In addition to the skills that are also important in traditional management, such as communication, stakeholder management, or conflict management, agile managers also need skills such as a high degree of flexibility, empathy, coaching, and mentoring. However, they must also be able to make decisions quickly and in the face of uncertainty. In addition, agile managers should have the ability to self-reflect and be prepared to question their behaviour and skills. This includes being open to feedback and striving for continuous further development.

Challenges

From faster responsiveness, greater ability to innovate, better employee motivation and customer focus to more efficient decision-making, agile leadership has numerous benefits. However, the change from traditional management to agile leadership can be very difficult and cause some resistance. This is because managers have to hand over decision-making powers to their teams and communicate more transparently. In addition, agile leadership means continuously adapting to change. This means that everyone involved has to learn to deal with greater uncertainty, which can be very challenging for some. In addition, the close collaboration of agile teams can initially lead to conflicts, making it difficult to maintain a positive team dynamic.

Conclusion

Especially in industries that are characterized by rapid and frequent changes, agile leadership offers a valuable opportunity to successfully manage companies and react flexibly to new requirements. Trust and transparent communication create a solid basis for promoting teamwork and personal responsibility.

In addition to the skills that an agile manager should have, software such as myPARM CorporateNavigator can also help with agile leadership. The software helps to communicate a company’s vision and strategy, making it clear to all employees how they can contribute to this. In addition, the integrated task management with agile Kanban boards or the communication and collaboration tools, for example, support successful agile collaboration.

Find out more about the myPARM CorporateNavigator leadership software:

Would you like to get to know myPARM CorporateNavigator in a demo presentation? Then make an appointment with us right away!

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