Building Agile Competencies

As Agile leadership is all about adapting to different situations and getting the results through the team, the leadership basics have to be very clear. However, before I talk about leadership essentials for Agile I would like to discuss the traps that will not permit the Manager to act as an Agile Leader:

Trap 1: Things cannot happen without me: This is a classic situation all well groomed technical managers get into. They love control and want to be hands on. They are driven by distrust and insecurity and are therefore involved in all activities.

Trap 2: Ineffective delegation: Responsibilities are defined and limited authority is given to team. This results in teams depending on the manager. Agile process thus fails.

Trap 3: Personal insecurity: Sees personal status diminishing. It is thus important to overcome the above through leadership competence that needs to be developed.

The competencies are listed below.

1. Altering leadership style based on situations:

a Hands on: Only during crisis

b. Collaborative: During grooming for critical objectives and induction

c. Non Directive Coach: For all controlled challenges and routine work

d. Reviewer: A very strong attribute to keep the project in control

2. People Leadership:

a. Develop and deploy people strategically

b. Focus on development of right competencies for projects success

c. Create motivation through improved probability of success through directive and non-directive coaching

3. Ownership & Accountability:

a. Complete personal ownership for overall success

b. Vision driven leadership for group ownership

c. Being aware of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards expected

4. Innovation:

a. Creative thinking for getting task done

b. Focus on performance and process improvement at all times

5. Critical thinking:

a. Logical goal setting and dealing with assumptions that may hamper accomplishment of goals

b. Decision making only based on facts and figures and not allowing emotions to intervene

If one loves control and has insecurity of becoming obsolete agile will fail. Agile leadership is easy provided the leader has established his own credibility in the organization and believes strongly in aiding and supporting performance. My experience is, agile is beautiful and effective. Choice of agile managers is crucial. Create the competency in managers before going agile.

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