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On Leadership

A definition and a point of view

6 September 2017

Horia Balog
Balog Consulting Ltd.

Leaders build and maintain trust with their organizations, partners, and peers through their decisions, actions, and interactions.

In order to be effective, the Agile Coach needs to demonstrate leadership — it is properly a part of the coaching role.

In addition, the organization, team, or individuals looking to transform toward a more and more Agile mindset need to refocus on their own leadership.

One can define leadership as the skills and capabilities of influencing others directly or indirectly, by means of both formal and vested authority and personal attributes, to act in accordance with the leader's intent or a shared purpose, goal, or objective.

Diving into more detail, here's a basic core set of principles to start with:
  • Demonstrate high levels of proficiency in the performance of the core functions and take advantage of opportunities to enhance their professional expertise and competency.
  • Exercise good judgment in decisions that affect others and do not expose people to unnecessary risks.
  • Show trust and confidence in staff and peers by giving them additional authority and involving them in decisions, where circumstances allow.
  • Demonstrate concern for the well-being of others in the organization, represent their interests, and ensure that they are supported and taken care of by the organization.
  • Show respect and consideration for others, treating everyone fairly — without favor or discrimination.
  • Focus on the tasks at hand, maintaining high standards and honest and open communication.
  • Lead by example, sharing risks and hardships and refusing to accept or take special privileges.
  • Keep your word and make sure you can be counted on to honor your obligations.
Leadership can support both long-term and immediate and tactical concerns, with specific approaches and techniques:
  • Strategic – sustaining current, existing organizational structures, capabilities, and systems of operation while planning and developing the long-term professional capabilities needed to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the organization over a larger time horizon.
  • Tactical and operational – engaging in directing, motivating, and enabling personnel and colleagues all around in the organization in their quest to accomplish their day-to-day responsibilities and tasks.
Another associated concept is management, defined by skills and activities related to planning, problem solving and decision making, organizing, informing, directing and leading, allocating and managing resources, developing, coordinating, monitoring, controlling, etc.

Leadership and management are complimentary: the most efficient managers have strong leadership skills, and the most effective leaders are often in positions of management.

In conclusion, leadership — as framed by the concepts and principles above — is mandatory for all, no matter what their role, on the journey toward high performance.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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