Agile Leadership:

An Overview

“Working agile” requires leaders to create an environment of trust and empowerment – offering support as needed, rather than trying to control each decision.

This type of management requires many human-centered skills, such as empathy, openness, active listening, and collaboration.

Master the key skills

of Agile Leadership: Communication, Commitment and Collaboration.

Create an environment of open communication, commitment, and collaboration by mastering the 9 Principles of Agile Leadership

But what is “agile” and where did it come from?

Agile started out as a way to develop software, because that industry changes so fast it is critical that the developers, who are closest to the task, can respond quickly to adapt to the rapid changes in the marketplace without waiting for approval or direction from management.

Leadership in this industry recognised and respected the knowledge and skills of the “front-line” developers, and gave them the autonomy to make many decisions themselves. The result – developers are more motivated and spend less time in meetings; productivity skyrockets, and so do the outcomes.

Leaders demonstrating these skills were so successful that “Agile Leadership” moved into all areas of management, becoming the culture in successful organisations.

Want to learn more? See below for a summary of the 9 Principles of Agile Leadership.

I have extensive experience in coaching leaders on being more agile – schedule an exploratory exchange on my contact page!


The Nine Principles of Agile Leadership:

1. Actions speak louder than words.

Agile Leadership is not only about driving and promoting change, it is also about role-modeling the behavior you want others to adopt.

2. Improved quality of thinking leads to improved outcomes.

Agile Leaders view problems from many different angles. They take input from those closest to the problem so they are in touch with reality, and don’t rely solely on electronic information.

3. Organisations improve through effective feedback.

Agile Leaders courageously solicit meaningful, useful and timely feedback from peers and other colleagues, and model giving effective feedback that is open, honest and respectful.

4. People require meaning and purpose to make work fulfilling.

Agile Leaders focus on building and sharing a common understanding and purpose. They are aware of what is in the hearts and minds of their colleagues, and then unify and align those values into inspired action.

5. Emotion is a foundation for enhanced creativity and innovation.

Agile Leaders understand that emotion is an important part of the human experience, and when individuals work with their emotions, they reach more of their potential. Innovation and creativity rely heavily on respect; Agile Leader encourage this by being accessible, open, honest, and transparent, whilst expecting the same from others.

6. Leadership lives everywhere in the organisation.

The work of an Agile Leader is to develop depth in the organisation’s leadership capability by providing opportunities for their people to lead.

7. Leaders devolve appropriate power and authority.

Agile Leaders recognise that people work best when they are enabled, engaged, and energised. Empowering individuals is a necessary skill of the Agile Leader.

8. Collaborative communities achieve more than individuals.

Agile Leaders build communities based on a high level of trust, respect, and meaningful working relationships. Their role is to provide those communities with everything they need to operate efficiently, and then to let them function autonomously, within boundaries.

The Agile Leader understands that forgiveness, positivity, generosity, and gratitude are important parts of a healthy working environment. The healthy functioning of the group, together with the preservation of psychological safety, allow the Agile Leader to encourage learning and development whilst also balancing sustained output and performance for the benefit of the organisation.

9. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the Organisation.

People who are close to a problem usually have the best ideas about how to solve it. Agile Leaders allow themselves to be open to the influence and ideas of others, regardless of their status or position. An Agile Leader stops, listens, and takes the time to really hear the thoughts and ideas for improvement from their colleagues.

For more detailed information about Agile visit the Agile Business Consortium.

Sabine Wieger 

International Professional Certified Coach

Austria – Vienna

Tel AT: +43 676 364 0010

USA – New York

​Tel US: +1 917 725 5171