Agile Leadership: Roles & Responsibilities

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Executives, senior level stakeholders and team leaders hold specific responsibilities in an agile organization. In this lesson, you'll learn more about these responsibilities and the behaviors of these leaders.

Tesla Agility

Before most other companies were even thinking about it, Tesla Motors started installing hardware in its vehicles that would allow them to send over-the-air updates to its vehicle owners. That means, instead of taking your car to the garage, Tesla can actually deliver a software update – sort of like your smartphone does – to take care of things like a flaw in the braking system or rolling out a new feature like autopilot parking. And, it all comes under the direction of one agile leader named Elon Musk.

Musk keeps Tesla Motors ahead of the curve with his strategic thinking, the constant learning mentality he instills in his workforce and the efficient use and alignment of resources that helps the company continue to innovate while keeping costs down.

There's no question that today's world is complex and constantly changing. Having an agile leader at the helm, someone who can navigate changing circumstances and remain flexible and resilient is key for businesses to survive and thrive.

Let's take a closer look at the responsibilities and characteristics of agile leaders.

What Agile Leaders Do

Whether you're an executive, senior-level stakeholder or team leaders in an agile organization, chances are you've been tasked with some of these responsibilities:

Task Example
Setting clear goals and benchmarks Tom tells the team the project must be completed in six months and bring in 3,000 new customers.
Breaking large projects up into smaller, more manageable pieces Tom assigns the focus groups to one team and the product packaging design to another team.
Creating and communicating flexible work plans After learning of a new packaging material, Tom updates the group on new deadlines and budget numbers.
Breaking down departmental silos, or barriers, in an organization Tom picks workers from various departments to sit on the same committee.
Encouraging continual learning and process improvement Tom tasks Ginger with finding a newer and faster way to incorporate focus group feedback.
Delegating decision making Tom gives Albert the responsibility of deciding on which menu to go with for the event.
Developing employee autonomy Tom authorizes Shannon and Aimee to select entertainment for the event based on the goals set by their clients.
Eliminating wastefulness Tom instructs his team to do away with all paper copies of flyers and other written materials for the event, using digital versions instead.
Supporting open and consistent communication Tom meets with his team weekly to maximize communication among all members of his team.

Agile Leadership Characteristics

Agile leaders in all different types of industries typically exhibit some common behaviors. See how many of these you recognize in leaders you know.

Agile leaders are:

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