Agile Leadership Principles

To be truly effective and long-lasting, an Agile transformation must reach every nook and cranny of the organization and this obviously includes leadership.  Organizational leadership includes everyone from front-line managers on up – everyone who has someone reporting to them.  Often times, managers are the last one to participate in the transformation or they may not recognize how much they will need to change in this new world. With this in mind, I took a pass at a few Agile Leadership Principles to start the dialog with those managers about the expectations of leadership in an Agile organization.   Would love your comments and suggestions!

As organizational leaders in an Agile enterprise, we will:

Support and empower the formation and development of self-governing and self-accountable teams.

Fully understand, embrace, and support our Agile framework – founded on the principles stated in the Agile Manifesto.

NOT lead by command-and-control but the only expectation we will have of our people is excellence, pure unadulterated excellence. (as defined by Seth Godin and Tom Peters)

Advocate for the simplest viable solutions to our challenges as we acknowledge that complexity may not scale very well.

Remove impediments as quickly as possible when escalated by our teams and realize that the impediment may in fact, be ourselves.

Believe in the importance of fully dedicated product development teams and will do everything possible to minimize assigning our people to multiple teams and unplanned movement of people between teams.

Hire the best people who will thrive in an open, collaborative, and social environment and will put their team ahead of everything else – and be excellent.

Serve our people with humility and empathy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “Agile Leadership Principles

  1. Len, This is a great start to help out as we talk with the whole organization about how agile transformations need support from everyone. “NOT lead by command-and-control but the only expectation we will have of our people is excellence, pure unadulterated excellence.” This line here would need some extra discussion with most leaders I have run into. Change can take time and leaders may slip back into their “command-and-control” mindset easily.


    Tom Henricksen

  2. Loving this post: “not lead by command and control”; “hire people who will thrive […in this …] environment”; “serve our people with humility and empathy”… I couldn’t agree more.
    Thank you as always for your insight!
    Amanda M