How We Put Agile Leadership into Practice

How we choose to show up and how we choose to engage as leaders directly affects the outcome of becoming an agile organization.

Leaders are the KEY to transformation—they are at the center of the change. To be successful, the change has to begin WITHIN leaders. The job of leadership becomes owning the culture, setting a vision, enrolling others so it becomes a shared vision, and helping support what’s needed in the culture to fuel that vision. 

Agile ladership

Everything you say, do, reward, or focus on sets the culture. The job of leaders is shifting away from shaping the work and shifting toward shaping the culture. How am I, as a leader, contributing to the culture we have?

Putting Agile Leadership Into Practice

The question to answer is this: How can we put into practice the characteristics of agile leadership and the structural components of conversation in order to lead cultural change?

Deepen Your Awareness.
Awareness precedes choice precedes change. How do you engage with your team?  What’s the impact you have in the team? How do you know? The more we are able to deepen awareness of our own behavior the easier it becomes to make choices that align with our intentions.

Grow Your Leadership Range.
True innovation and transformation happens when leaders create the space to learn and think together rather than acting on their preconceived ideas about the best way forward. There is common trap that leadership looks like having the answers, and  moving things forward. What if leaders had range? the ability to advocate for an action when needed, but also to create space for inquiry and deepened understanding? Adaptive challenges do not come with roadmaps, they require new ways of engaging and leading through the process of dialogue.

Imagine a company that is experiencing tough times in a competitive market. Now, compare the examples below—they model two different responses to the situation.  

  • Scenario #1: “We need to become more innovative. Our competitors are outpacing us each quarter. I want t  launch a transformation initiative. Janet, I would like you to take this on. Let me know what you need for the budget. Let’s talk next week about defining the key metrics and goals.”
  • Secnario #2: “ I’m noticing we are starting to lag behind our competitors in time to market. I would like to think together about ways we might tackle this issue. What do others see? What opportunities do we have? Where might we be getting it wrong?”

In the first scenario, the leader makes an assertion, observes the current state and makes a move about what’s needed next. In the second scenario, the leader makes an observation (Bystand), names a concern (Bystand), and then inquires of others. The leader in the second scenario signals that there is space for exploration and resists the impulse to jump right into action. 

Growing range in leadership is about learning to make space for other voices, to seek to understand, to be open to hearing things that might be hard. It is about resisting the inherent tension to be the “solver of problems” and instead be the seeker of collective intelligence. Leaders with range are far more likely to discover a clearer path and lead more sustainable change.


Practice the Four Actions.
Move, Follow, Oppose, Bystand. We all have one that we will do more often than the others. What actions might you be overusing? Which are underutilized?

Pay attention to your conversations. Where do you remain silent or inactive in the conversation? What do you see that you might not be saying?

By practicing all four competencies you build awareness around how you engage and help your team create collectively.

Grow Your Collective Leadership Culture
Leaders create the culture. What we say, how we respond, what we reward… these are all are signals about the culture we’re creating. Team coaching helps leaders learn and grow together so that they become more aware of their actions and more intentional about what changes are needed.

Moreover, team coaching helps leaders learn together, collectively, in their real-world day-to-day challenges. It’s the most effective way to help leadership teams see the patterns in how they engage so that they can take action—and change the outcomes they’ve been getting.

Team Coaching helps leaders develop, together. 


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments