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Ten business benefits of Agile leadership

In today's business landscape, the ability to adapt and excel amidst constant change is more crucial than ever. Agile leadership is a transformative mindset that goes beyond traditional leadership approaches. At its core, agile leadership empowers organisations to embrace change, foster collaboration, and navigate complexity.

Here are ten essential benefits of Agile leadership that can set your organisation apart.

1. Embracing change as a constant

In the rapid-paced business environment, agile leaders stand out by not merely reacting to change but proactively driving it. Their ability to remain open and adaptable fosters a culture that thrives on shifting circumstances, steering their teams through uncertainty rather than merely weathering storms.

2. Leading by example

Agile leaders embody the mantra of ‘be the change you want to see’. This isn’t about giving commands but setting a precedent through actions. By fostering continuous learning and adaptability within themselves, agile leaders inspire their teams. This ‘servant leadership’ approach prioritises the needs of teams, building trust and involving team members in decision-making.

3. Unlocking innovation and collaboration

Agile organisations prioritise collaboration over hierarchies, recognising the power of diverse perspectives. Agile leaders create an environment where all voices are heard, leading to more innovative solutions, enhanced creativity, and improved problem-solving capabilities for the entire team.

4. Cultivating an agile culture

Agile leaders actively cultivate a culture of agility, focusing on visible behaviours, continuous learning, and an environment that celebrates adaptability. Regular self-assessment against defined behaviours strengthens team culture, contributing to sustained success.

5. Empowering teams

Agile leaders empower teams by providing autonomy to respond swiftly to market shifts. This fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability. True empowerment comes from defining goals, unblocking impediments, and ensuring teams have the capability and clarity to make independent decisions.

6. Responding to 21st-century challenges

Agile leaders thrive in a VUCA world — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Their efficiency in responding to change, minimising risk, and creating a safe environment for teams to test and learn positions them as champions of innovation and adaptability.

7. Initiating change: from teams to organisations

To fully realise the benefits of agility, the transformation must extend beyond individual teams. Agile leaders initiate change gradually within their teams, demonstrating benefits and fostering a culture of learning. This ripple effect permeates the entire organisation, creating a responsive, innovative, and collaborative workplace.

8. Accepting and breaking down change

Successful agile leaders not only accept change but embrace it. They break down changes into manageable components, enabling iterative progress. Viewing mistakes as steppingstones to improvement positions them as champions of innovation and adaptability.

9. Learning continuously

At the heart of agile leadership is a mindset that embraces change, values learning, and thrives on continuous improvement. A growth mindset aligns seamlessly with agile principles, emphasising ongoing learning and adaptation to the evolving business landscape.

10. Developing a leadership pipeline

Organisations must invest in developing a pipeline of future leaders with agile leadership and management skills. Targeted training programmes, mentorship initiatives, and real-world application of agile principles ensure a workforce equipped for the challenges of tomorrow.

Learn more about agile leadership with The Open University

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Delve into agile leadership by exploring the Agile Business Consortium’s Nine Principles of Agile Leadership on our postgraduate-level microcredential, Agile leadership and management.

Created in collaboration with the Agile Business Consortium for managers, leaders, or those aspiring to move into leadership roles, it will challenge, inspire, and provide practical knowledge and skills relevant to the needs of modern leadership.

Learners will enhance their knowledge of agile principles, hone their leadership skills, and gain practical strategies and tools for leading, supporting, and empowering engaged teams. The course requires 12.5 hours of learning per week for 12 weeks and costs £800.

The next course starts on March 11, 2024.

What learners say

I am in the leadership space, and this has really helped me grow and move to a growth mindset. 

Do it! The course offers ongoing opportunity for self-reflection and improvement, and many tools, approaches, and strategies to help develop you as an agile leader.

Insights from industry experts

Forward-looking organisations have always supported and developed leadership talent. In a complex and fast-moving world, it is the ability and skills of individuals to thrive, that is a major differentiator in organisational success. For learners on this course, it should be a journey that challenges, inspires, and rewards, discovering more about yourself which in turn gives perspective on others.

Katie Taylor
Agile Business Consortium

To register for this course or to discuss how the OU can enhance your organisation’s agile leadership capabilities, please email us or contact one of our business team advisers at 0300 303 0122 or +44 (0) 1908 655767 for international calls.

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Our business and management microcredentials and CPD courses offer the opportunity for employees to grow as leaders and gain solid, transferable key business skills. See the full list of professional development courses.

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