20 Characteristics of an Agile Leader

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Teams of all natures – agile software development or otherwise – need inspirational leadership to perform their best.

That leadership may, or may not, come from the organisation’s appointed leaders. But all teams need it, nevertheless.

So what are the qualities of inspirational leaders?

  1. Strong communication – storytelling and listening will inspire your teams.
  2. Passion for learning and intense curiosity will create an energetic working environment.
  3. Focus on developing people
  4. Having fun and very energised
  5. Strong self-belief, coupled with humanity and humility
  6. Committed to making a significant difference
  7. Clarity of vision and ability to share it with others will make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.
  8. Dogged determination and often relentlessness
  9. Strong focus on priorities
  10. Not afraid to show some vulnerability
  11. Regular use of reflective periods to think and learn
  12. Real passion and pride in what they do
  13. Confidence and trust in their teams, giving them real empowerment will lead to better results.
  14. Respect for all (team members, temps, customers, suppliers and directors alike)
  15. Clear standards of ethics and integrity; openness and honesty is key to a functioning workplace.
  16. Ability to drive, inspire and embrace change and continuous improvement
  17. Positive attitude at all times and an innate ability to be diplomatic in any circumstances
  18. Lateral thinking and ability to find innovative ideas and solutions to problems
  19. Ability to inspire and motivate others
  20. Willingness to take (calculated) risks

These are qualities that differentiate good leaders; people others would be willing to follow.

These are also qualities of ‘servant leadership’. An admirable leadership style that is particularly emphasised in agile software development methods.

How many of your team – or appointed leaders – demonstrate these qualities; the qualities of inspirational leadership?… and if you work for me, please don’t answer that 🙂


See also:
Agile managers need to turn their thinking upside-down
Agile teams must be empowered
10 key principles of agile software development