What Does It Mean To Be An Agile Leader?

Posted on written by Marvin

We’ve previously looked at the differences between leadership and management on this blog but what does it meant to be an agile leader?

There are numerous strands of leadership these days and some work better in certain situations than others however agile leadership is a concept that crops up again and again. It is a term that is relatively new to the management world but one that has a large following.

So, how do you define the characteristics of agile leadership?

Being Innovative

It sounds pretty cliché however approaching projects in an innovative fashion is a key cornerstone of being an agile leader.

In some circles that can be defined as something that is difficult to control or manage from higher up however for a modern business it is an important trait for a leader to have. It encompasses tackling problems in a new way, challenging norms and bringing an element of originality to the table.

Changing the way in which a team works can cause friction at the start however with creativity and offering agile solutions it can quickly transform results for the better.

Seeking Out Feedback

Does your manager take feedback well? How do you handle criticism if you are in a leadership position? Do you take it on board or think that you know best?

A vital component of agile leadership is the ability to absorb feedback and then implement this in the way in which you manage your team. A Green Peak Partners study showed that leaders who were self-aware and continually seek feedback about their performance and the way they work produce better results.

Being an agile leader isn’t just about the approach you take it is also about how you come to that approach in the first place.

Prepared To Take Risks

In a way this corresponds with promoting innovation – agile leaders are prepared to shake things up and take risks if need be.

The difference between an agile leader and a risk taker is that in agile leadership risks don’t need to be taken just for the sake of it. Venturing into uncharted territory and moving outside their comfort zone are two key things that managers should practice if the situation calls for this action.

Risks often lead to opportunity and it is a characteristic of agile management to determine which ones are worth taking.

Are You An Agile Leader?

Reading over these features of agile leadership might make you realise that you are more in tune with this strand of management than you think. Many people are agile leaders and simply don’t realise it or promote themselves as such.

Incorporating either all or some elements of agility into the way in which the business works can reap big rewards and management in general is certainly moving in this direction.

How many of these qualities do your practice in a leadership role? Does your boss take this approach to managing your team?

We’d love to hear your feedback on what it means to be an agile leader.


Agile Manager, young women in office.

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