Since its advent in 2001, the concept of agile has managed to evolve from the manifesto pages for software designers and other aspects of the business –including strategic leadership.
The concept is that an organization is capable of examining the external environment, the respective customer demands, and its internal capabilities. The company also ensures strategy development, and alignment of the people with it and implementing the strategy.
The customer and market will not be waiting around for the next strategy. They will continue moving without your assistance. It serves to be an ongoing process. This implies that leaders will be required to come up with a resilient form of organization in terms of agile while creating positive energy.
How can you make sure that your organization is capable of renewing itself on an ongoing basis? This is wherein leadership agility is required.
Understanding Leadership Agility
The selling point of leadership is that people advance towards leaders for ideas and solutions. The CEO is capable of giving answers for current problems. However, for future problems, leaders are expected to look into the same in a unique manner. They are expected to move from serving an expert to being the catalyst of the company.
It is important to understand that there are different levels of leadership agility. As a catalyst, an agile leader is expected to bring in the expertise of the right people while creating a safe environment for developing the ideas for future innovations.
Dimensions of Leadership Agility
Context-Setting Agility: It is referred to as the situational awareness of the leadership duty along with a dedicated sense of purpose. An expert will go ahead with assessing the problem by going through the organization. On the other hand, an achiever will understand the broader aspect of the organizational problem. At the same time, a catalyst would look deeply into the problem in a broader environment.
Self-Leadership: Experts might have access to limited self-awareness. They also pay attention to what will motivate them and the development process with respect to leadership –like wanting to become Steve Jobs.
The next level, achiever, will be having a better sense of different strengths and weaknesses. They will also pay attention to what will motivate them and the development process as the philosophy of a leader in their minds.
The catalyst is known to possess a strong sense of the respective strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, they are motivated by the ongoing mission to continue developing and honing themselves.
Stakeholder Agility: It is regarded as the ability to come across key stakeholders while understanding their point of view and managing different perspectives. It also depicts the comprehension of the overall nature of power.
At the expert level, there tends to be a limited ability to consider different stakeholder perspectives. The experts believe that power is derived out of authority. An achiever tends to be more reflective while grasping the different views of the stakeholders. They observe authority as coming along with leadership. However, they also believe that power should be more distributed across the entire organization.
For the catalysts, they tend to have a clearer picture of different perspectives of differ stakeholders. They observe power to be derived out of the overall vision along with their ability to bring individuals together.
Creative Agility: Do you have access to necessary skills to solve specific problems? The capabilities required for doing this tend to be reflective judgment and connective awareness. An inability to ensure contrasting different views and observing them as neutral is the sign of an expert. An expert will have limited access to problem-solving skills. Rather, he or she will only make use of the respective technical knowledge.
On the other hand, a catalyst is capable of understanding the different shades of surrounding problems. Moreover, a catalyst possesses the ability to reflect on the respective judgment. The achiever is known to sit in the middle. The achiever can recognize some distinct views while looking back to some extent with respect to judgments.
Once a leader is capable of reaching the catalyst level in leadership agility, they can move back & forth between other levels based on the requirement of the situation. For instance, they can think of operating as a catalyst, but while facing a crisis, they might even make use of their expert knowledge to handle the same.
Moreover, they can also go ahead with tackling adaptive challenges for disrupting the existing status quo –like development of a strategy for upcoming 10 years. This is when they are required to serve the role of a catalyst. This is because adaptive challenges require disruption and experimentation, new learning, and also a change of culture. Therefore, leadership agility is not just about ability –it is also about understanding the given situation and selecting the right style.
Understanding Leadership Development
Awareness of the current leadership of the behaviors and mindsets of the leader –and how they will be influencing and impacting others, is the major step towards becoming a highly effective leader.
A reliable agile leadership journey or leadership development program helps leaders in identifying and understanding where they are and where they look forward to become. With this strategy, it is possible for the leaders to chart a dedicated path to get the desired position. The given programs help in heightening awareness, sharpening focus, improving connectedness, and increasing influence as a successful leader. In short, it is possible to build better leaders.
The leadership team or leaders can be executive leaders, first-line managers, or somewhere in between. The leadership development programs can help in providing pragmatic and inspiring techniques for increasing leadership agility.
Leadership agility development will require much more than skill acquisition. Leaders should aim at combining real-time awareness with the overall courage and openness to experiment on all-new approaches to day-to-day situations. It will help in developing new competencies.