Simply put agile leadership is the ability to persue a mission (mission focus) or a goal in a way that is flexible, adaptable and responsive. Additionally agile leaders have a capability to develop agile teams, organisations and people who can adapt, respond to rapidly changing, ambiguous and uncertain situations and who are resilient and flexible.
The aim of agile leadership is for the leader to remain operable and to keep their team fully functional regardless of the situation or the number or speed of changes in the situation, no matter how sudden or extreme, in order to either achieve the original mission or develop and pursue a credible and advantageous alternative.
Attributes and Characteristics
Agile leadership really comprises of one major attribute which is itself supported by three underpinning characteristics. The main attribute of the agile leader is the ability to make good judgements and decisions, especially when things are moving fast, are ambiguous and difficult. The ability to make agile decisions is in essence, proficiency in having a deep understanding about when and to flex, when to adapt and when to stay the course.
Agile decision making requires that the leader has good levels of emotional resilience, the ability to deal with uncertainty and wisdom, all of which, contrary to common belief, can be successfully developed in an individual.
However not only does the agile leader need these qualities but they have to be able to transfer them to their people, to make the organisation able to make good judgements, be emotionally resilient, be able to flourish with uncertainty, be flexible, be able to stay the course and nurture wisdom in the workplace. At the very least they need a robust strategy to achieve this.
Which is why we not only develop leaders agility, but also their capability to develop it in others and across organisations and importantly how to decide when to flex, when to adapt and when to stay with things.