Unlocking Agility: How Leaders Make a Difference

agile leadership

By Ryan Fullmer

February 6, 2023

Are you ready to take your organization to the next level of efficiency and effectiveness?

Agile ways of working have been proven to help companies adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, but making the transition can be challenging. That's where leaders come in. With a clear vision, an open mind, and a willingness to lead by example, leaders can help their teams navigate the transition and unlock the full potential of Agile.

Leading the Transition to Agile

Let's explore the key strategies and tactics that leaders can use to make the Agile transition a success.

Advocating and going first

  • Leaders need to set an example by demonstrating agile values and principles in their own work and leadership style. Look for ways to leverage agile practices in your leadership team and help each other shift to the new ways of thinking and working.

Providing clear outcomes

  • Teams need clarity to why the transition is important and what it means to be successful. Leaders can provide this clarity by defining desired outcomes for the transition and identifying the measures for success.

Being open to change

  • Things will not always go as planned during the transition. Leaders that remain open to new ideas are ready and willing to adapt and change course. This is often the difference between success or failure.

Encouraging continuous improvement

  • Achieving agility is not a one and done effort. Agility requires continued attention and investment. Leaders that recognize this create an environment where teams are supported to experiment, take risks, learn and continuously improve.

Providing training and resources

  • The new way of working is not always straightforward. Complex organizational environments make even the simplest process hard to adopt and do well. Leaders help the teams by providing the necessary information, guidance and resources they need to be successful.

Sharing stories

  • People need to feel inspired to take action and know that they are not making the change alone. Leaders that share stories help people learn and connect through the experiences, successes, and struggles of others. Stories make the change feel more relatable and raise awareness about the changes to make.

Leveraging retrospectives

  • Leaders can model the shift to Agility by conducting regular retrospectives focused on the transition to Agile. Not only does this model an Agile practice, it supports the overall transition by identifying improvement actions to get better results.


Leaders play a crucial role in successfully transitioning to Agile. They inspire, provide clarity, make pivots, address issues and encourage growth and improvement. By doing so, they help navigate the organization through the challenging transition and create an environment that supports experimentation, risk-taking, and learning.



Receive Practical Tools and Tips

Start by downloading the guide: How to Use Discovery to Focus Your Agile Teams on Solving the Right Problems and gain free access to powerful resources, delivered to your inbox every week. 

You will be added to our email list and we will send you practical guidance and tools for Outcome-Driven Planning. Unsubscribe at any time.