Agile & Digital

Shared and emergent leadership

In agile and digital teams, we need to move at rapid pace and are often managing complex issues with highly skilled colleagues. In this environment it’s hard for a single leader to keep up with everything.

The different demands of leadership also require quite different skill sets.

In agile methodology teams deal with this by distributing some common leadership tasks into other roles.

  • the product manager decides what should be worked on and represents the customer
  • the scrum master drives the process and protects the team from distractions
  • the agile coach provides facilitation support, coaching and people development
  • autonomous team members decide how the work should be done

All 4 of these roles may have been part of a traditional leadership role in the past. By putting more focus and resource behind these tasks we get more leadership overall and this also provides development for team members.

If you want different forms of leadership to emerge in your team, start by thinking through the functions of leadership – what are the leadership tasks that need to be performed?

Then ask yourself, who in my team is most able and motivated to take on these roles. Even better, why not lead a team meeting discussion around this and see who wants to step up and take on, for example, a more active coaching role for new members of the team.

If you are the leader of the team this may also enable you to free up time to step up and emerge into new leadership tasks of your own.

Is it time for you to let new leadership roles evolve in your team or organization?

Check out an interactive graphic on our agile & digital leadership learning path and training module contents – including a module on shared and emergent leadership.



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