Are You an Agile Leader? You Might Recognize These Traits

Are you open to others’ suggestions? Do you find yourself consulting with your employees on a range of topics because you value their experience and viewpoints? Are you able to adapt to changing conditions quickly without losing sight of the original objective?

If you find yourself doing this on a regular basis, you may already have the foundations of agile leadership.

What exactly is agile leadership?

Generally speaking, agile leadership is a mindset that instead of resisting change, welcomes it. As a result, you are able to adapt to unexpected developments quickly and effectively, without feeling the anxiety that others who fear change might exhibit. Many of the best agile leaders are mindful as they go about their work, comfortable with being challenged by employees in lower-level roles, and lifelong learners who feel that they can never have enough knowledge in order to be the best that they can be. 

Many of these traits challenge the beliefs of some higher-level executives who might see the input of others as a direct threat to their position. Often, they may be guilty of thinking that they know everything there is to know about their role and how to respond to environmental demands. However, being open to others’ perspectives is not only essential for effectively motivate them, it can also provide you with useful information that can help you to be more successful in our increasingly fast-paced and diverse modern workplace.

With an ever-changing business landscape, being innovative and intentional about leveraging others’ talents for the greater good of the business are much sought after traits. Regardless of industry, they deliver significant benefits for both the company and workforce as a whole, so it should come as no surprise to learn that those who are able to offer agile leadership are very much in demand. 

How do I identify the traits of an agile leader?

If you’re still not sure if you have the foundational traits needed to become an agile leader, here are three essential elements that you may recognize as personal strengths or as key characteristics, either in yourself or someone else.

1. Excellent communication skills

Agile leaders are able to effectively communicate with others regardless of their level within the organization. They are champions of the company vision  and embody strong leadership by serving as an energizing force. As a result, they use their communication skills to connect and inspire others with an upbeat, “can-do” attitude.

You’ll also find that agile leaders spend just as much time listening to the opinions and viewpoints of others as they do communicating their desired vision. They are also open to dissent, as they recognize that different perspectives strengthen the decision-making process and can lead to more creative solutions to problems.

2. The ability to adapt quickly

They don’t call agile leaders agile for no reason; one of the key traits of this leadership style is the ability to adapt to change quickly and with minimal fuss. With many more traditional leadership styles relying on the status quo and relative certainty, what makes agile leaders such valuable assets to their company is the fact that they can tolerate lengthy periods of uncertainty whilst maintaining a positive and forward-thinking outlook.

Sadly, the economic climate is more uncertain today than it has been in some time, so the ability to lead from the front when the strategy that’s currently in place gets thrown into turmoil is an asset that any business looking to survive will fight hard to retain.

Agile leaders are also deeply tuned into the signals that precede business change, and instead of digging in their heels and trying to resist it, they actively embrace the transformation necessary for teams to stay on top of their game. They aren’t afraid to experiment with new ways of thinking and working in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

3. Change through development

Agile leaders know that you can never have too much knowledge. They are very open to the idea of lifelong development, rather than simply being focused on completing the training courses and qualifications required for each pay grade. Not only do they actively seek to enhance their understanding in all areas relating to their roles and the business as a whole, but they also act as ambassadors for the professional and personal development of others. Agile leaders are passionate about development and are invariably on hand to nurture the team to be the best that it can possibly be.

By building a sense of togetherness in their team and involving them in critical decisions, agile managers forge stronger workplace engagement, deeper trust and higher levels of productivity and employee happiness – all of which are essential to everyday business functions and success as a whole. 

With many American workers citing poor management as the leading cause of job dissatisfaction and over 70% of all workers feeling disengaged at work, the need for agile leaders who listen to and support their teams is now more crucial than ever before.

With these foundational traits being the necessary building blocks of any agile leader, organizations need to be focused on developing their employees on the methods and strategies needed to adapt to change, communicate a clear mission and nurture staff. These building blocks, when harnessed correctly, can transform leaders into a confident and visionary heads who lead via inspiration and example. If you’d like to find out more about agile leadership and learn some of the skills and methods needed to take your leadership skills to the next level, get in touch with us at Silver Lining Psychology today. We’d love to discuss our range of self-study courses and one-on-one executive coaching programs with you.

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Atlanta-based Corporate Psychologist and Life Coach