The 7 Conditions for Effective Agile Leadership Teams

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This is the third post in the November Agile Leadership and Management Series.

As an Agile Leadership Team, regardless of the four Leadership team hats you find yourself wearing, there are certain conditions that dramatically increase the chances that a group of leaders will develop into an effective team.

The 7 conditions of an Agile Leadership Team

  1. Purpose-driven – The Agile Leadership team’s purpose must be challenging, consequential, and clear.
  2. Aligned Reward System – Agile leadership teams can only be successful when they get the information, education, reinforcement (i.e., aligned reward systems), and basic resources they need to fulfill their purpose.
  3. Interdependence – The work of an Agile Leadership Team must require joint effort, shared responsibility, and collaboration across organizational boundaries to achieve a collective, enterprise-affecting purpose.
  4. Structured – Team structure refers to the specific features that shape how members behave and interact.
  5. Bounded – Effective Agile leadership teams have clear boundaries.
  6. Stable – Effective Agile leadership teams maintain stable membership long enough for members to know each other’s strengths, limitations, and learn how to work together as a team.
  7. Continuously coached – The best Agile Leadership Teams are continuously coached and are coaching themselves to evolve, learn, and grow.

When these conditions are not in place, researchers have found that members are likely to encounter chronic problems when working together, such as dysfunctional conflicts, uncertainty about how to best proceed with their work, dealing with issues that get seem to get resolved and then reappear, and continued focus on individual silos at the expense of enterprise-wide outcomes.

Adapted from Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burress, and J. Richard Hackman’s book, Senior Leadership Teams

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The next post in the November Agile Leadership and Management Series: Starting an Agile Leadership Team.


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