Who leads in an agile world?

25th May 2021

What is agile leadership?

The advantages of working with greater agility provides recognised benefits in the right business scenarios, those more volatile and complex environments we seem to be all moving to.

But what place has leadership in a highly devolved decision-making environment? Leadership is key to ensuring strategy, coherence, direction, and the appropriate governance for a business. These factors are still key in an agile world, even more so when decisions are being made rapidly by those who hold the best information. A clear direction and boundaries to operate within are necessary.

Great leaders inspire, set a path, and support their people on getting there. Open communication, and delegation replaces the authoritarian way of leading – and this brings increased motivation and engagement to the people we are leading.

How to become more agile?

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Current leaders need to adopt an agile mindset if they want everyone around them to work in a more collaborative and agile way. At CMC we have been enhancing our agile thinking within our own business. Our management team, including me, have all recently attended Certified Agile Leadership training. The aim? To bring a wider understanding of the role agile thinking must play in leadership across our business. This is the latest step in our continuing path, we already have certified Scrum Masters, staff undertaking Agile Coaching training, we run inhouse agile awareness and development sessions, and have set up an internal agile team…. but we recognise that leadership is key to us moving forward, and I am a key part of this. Our approach is to continuously evolve as a business, ensuring the change provides value and is sustainable.

Sharing our vision, setting our direction, making sure the right people are making the best decisions for CMC is paramount, and we endeavour to improve these areas, and more. We do need to maintain oversight, but that is exactly what it should be…oversight. Leadership is about leading but also visible participation in the change required, it cannot be done from a remote Boardroom.

The actions we are taking in CMC, are ones we happily share with our clients, and help them through their process which we have/are undertaking. We recognise the pain points, from the bottom to the top of the organisation – and there is no magic fix, if you want to be more agile you need to change, from your processes all the way through to leadership thinking.

By John Daley, Managing Director at CMC Partnership Consultancy Ltd