What distinguishes leaders of agile teams?

Leaders in an agile systems need more specific skills than those of classical organizations. This has to do with the higher dynamic of processes and procedures.

Social Skills

A leader of agile teams needs

  • motivation.
    • Precisely this means the ability to enthuse all employees for the tasks assigned, especially when their realization differs from the optimal idea of the individual.
  • empathy.
    • It should be possible to lead without commanding, to act as an example, to contribute at least temporarily to unpleasant works and to show the employees that one is ‘living’ for them and the tasks.
  • intuitive understanding.
    • A leader has to meet all needs of the employees and to use them according to their skills as well as individual capacity.
  • social skills.
    • All persons of the department should not be treated equally, but fair.

Technical skills

Leaders of an agile oragnizations have

  • professional competence
    • Contrary to classical variations agile organizations require a high level of professional competence, because they are normally structured with flatter hierarchies.
  • practical know-how
    • Ideally the leader is able to carry out all tasks of the department by himself. This way the employees are aware that their leader really understands their work.
  • visions
    • Leaders are responsible for the creation of visions. This requires that leaders not only understand complex structures, but are also able to form them.

Management skills

Leaders of agile organizations have

  • structural understanding
    • They are able to understand and to structure complex connections.
  • business know-how
    • Technical objectives are pursued taking personnel and budgetary resources into consideration.
  • ability to delegate
    • Tasks are delegated to the employees. In doing so, it is ensured that the context is clear to everybody and that the person carrying out the task recognizes the own contribution.
  • cognitive intelligence
    • They have the ability to quickly understand new connections, to develop respective solutions and to explain them.
  • flexibility
    • Ongoing adaptation is a constant factor. Their actions are directed to allow changes within their environment and to easily support them.
  • adaptive communication skills
    • They take care that their language is adjusted to their opposite (colleague, client, superior). In this connection it is necessary to describe complex processes in an abstract way without giving the feeling that everything is easy to manage.
  • thirst for knowledge
    • They constantly do further training, both technically and socially.