– And what about me then? Am I still needed at all? –
“My company wants to become lean/agile. They don’t need me as a manager anymore! What will happen to me then?”
This or something similar is often the first reaction of managers when an agile transformation program is announced – especially in middle management. Most of them ask themselves: is in agile leadership even possible?
The first trainings and workshops start, the agile manifesto is read and the fear seems to be confirmed. There is nothing in the Scrum Guide about the role of the manager, the agile coach ignores the manager (if he is allowed to join the trainings at all) and many of the classic leadership tasks move to the product owner and scrum master.
In fact, the answer is simple. Well, at least simple to understand – but difficult to implement. Just like the agile motto:
🌟”Scrum is easy to understand, but difficult to master” 🌟
5 tasks of an agile manager = agile leadership
And what are the tasks 💪🏻 of a lean/agile leader❓
Ultimately, the tasks can be summarized as “Support and develop your employees” – and that is indispensable.
More specifically, they include:
👉🏻 Be the role model
👉🏻 Vision & intrinsic motivation
👉🏻 Team development
👉🏻 Lifelong learning
Be the role-model
Live and breathe the agile mindset & culture and lead change through it. If the leader is behind the change, the team will be able to change faster.
The world is too complex to be mastered by one individual. Only when all the knowledge and skills of the team are incorporated and if they make their own decisions will the best solution emerge – and even faster.
Vision and intrinsic motivation
For employees to make their own decisions, they need a vision and a framework. The agile leader must communicate these. A nice side effect: a vision motivates and gets you out of bed in the morning. A vision or a purpose promotes the intrinsic motivation of the team members.
1+1>2❗️ A team achieves more than a lone fighter. An agile leader helps the team to grow together and removes stumbling blocks.
In our fast-moving times, standing still is tantamount to taking a step backwards. An agile leader creates the space for his/her employees (and him/herself) to evolve.
Ultimately, the tasks can be summarized as: Be a leader instead of a manager!
Are you still managing or are you already leading?
I have never been able to stand terms like “human resources” and “human capital” perhaps combined with a “manage”. To me, they represent the epitome of the dehumanization of the working world. They are leftovers from a time when it was still mainly about factory workers 🏭 who were only supposed to be recipients of orders and just not have any ideas of their own💡. People are nothing more than the other factory inventory 🛠 and capital💰.
To me, the term “manager” belongs in the same category. It sounds like soulless and thoughtless people who have to be (micro-)managed like smallest children. It doesn’t fit at all into our modern, complex and fast-paced working world, where we need highly qualified, highly intelligent people.
If we want to have and keep such people in our companies, if we want to use their potential, we have to treat them accordingly – and for me that means leading instead of managing.
So what is the difference between an (agile) leader and a manager?
👉🏻 Creating a vision vs. setting goals
👉🏻 Inspire people vs. (micro-)manage people
👉🏻 Coaching vs. guiding
👉🏻 Initiating change vs. cementing the status quo
👉🏻 Shaping relationships vs. defining processes
👉🏻 Encouraging teamwork vs. being a lone wolf
👉🏻 Supporting personal initiative vs. making decisions
👉🏻 Rolemodel vs. determine
And what is the difference for you between a leader and a manager?