10 Key Skills Every Agile Leader Needs

2020-01-18 · Andreas Benkowitz & Dr. Frank Kuhnecke
1. Establish purpose
  • Our brain is a pattern detecting device. It needs answers to the “Why?”.
  • As an agile leader you find the answer to the “why?” together with the team.
2. Create and support fearlessness
  • Our brains need fearlessness for functioning optimally.
  • An agile leader creates psychological safety.
  • Agile leaders extend trust.
3. Create positive emotion
  • Learning is the most critical skill for everybody in the future. For learning our brain needs a positive state and positive emotions.
  • Agile leaders help creating an environment for positive emotions, e.g. through playing and experimenting.
4. Build meaningful relationships
  • Our brains are wired to connect. Ideas are put in practice in collaboration with other human beings.
  • Agile leaders need to be great at networking and – even more importantly – support the building of meaningful cross-functional, cross-professional networks.
  • Agile leaders generate and support networks of people.
5. Lead laterally
  • Everybody is a leader.
  • Agile leaders efficiently influence other human beings without formal authority.
6. Act in accordance with an agile leader mind-set
  • The right mindset enables the right behaviors. Right means “human” and “best for human brains and bodies.” Agile leaders treat other people as subjects.
  • They demonstrate equal dignity.
  • They have a growth mindset, using feedforward as a tool for learning and growth.
7. Inspiration and communication
  • Influence happens through communication and inspiration.
  • Our brain needs to be emotionally connected to other human beings. Therefore, the agile leader inspires through connection the why to peoples’ emotions. The agile leader connects as a whole human being.
  • Our brains are also looking for patterns and need complete stories. If stories are not complete, our brain fills in the gaps. Therefore, the agile leader creates the greatest transparency possible.
8. Enable teams
  • Humans are social beings. Therefore, working in teams in highly rewarding and - for the most part - efficient and effective. Agile leaders help teams to work in the right size, the right constellation and composition, using the right tools.
  • Identify opportunities and remove obstacles
  • Our brain is biased, makes predictions and tends to miss opportunities. Teams and individuals can run into roadblocks. The agile leader listens actively, and by doing that identifies opportunities as well as potential obstacles. Through lateral leadership the agile leader influences other human beings to leverage opportunities and remove obstacles get things done.
9. Establish and facilitate methodologies
  • The agile leader has a toolbox that enables great work. The agile leader is capable to use these tools and help others to use these effectively. Core methodologies are design thinking, systems thinking, kanban, systematic problem solving and experimentation.


We know how to make agile leadership real for you, your team and your organization.
1. If you want to become an agile leader:
Two-day program covering:
  • The mind-set of an agile leader
  • Creating the right environment for agility and new work
  • Identifying and generating purpose
  • Core methodologies of agile leadership
For further details please contact us at contact@alstracon.com
2. If you want to find out if agile leadership is for you and your team:
0.5-day in-house workshop with you and your team:
  • We know what is possible, how to implement agility and agile leadership in small and large organizations in units or departments.
  • We work with you, analyze the current state and determine with you what is feasible in your specific situation. This might be e. g. a fractal, experimental step-by-step approach or a large transformation.
  • We show you potential first steps on your agile leadership journey.
Interested? Please contact us at contact@alstracon.com