I’m in the camp that doesn’t believe Agile Leadership is an oxymoron. Do I have all the answers? Nah. I’m just learning and helping others learn.
I like the analogy of a jazz jam session.
Independent players (team members) may have an idea and take off with it. No matter what, all the musicians (team) keep playing (working). If the improvisation (experiment) works for everyone, they incorporate it, and the music (or the way we work) evolves.
If players don’t like the improvisation or it’s poorly formed or just doesn’t work, the other players keep on doing what works. Soon another one of them will jump in with something new. High performing agile teams are like jazz musicians, and agile leaders are just another participant, trying to make the best music possible with their team.
Here are my favorite things I’ve written on (and adjacent to) the subject of Agile Leadership:
When Your Team Doesn’t Get “Agile” or “Lean”
Agile Teams Don’t Always Have Tech Leads, But When They Do–
A Tech Lead Is Not A Manager: Influence vs. Authority On Agile Teams
Lean Teatime Is Both More And Less Than Lean Coffee
When Does Counting Lines of Code Make Sense?