We learn new things every single day. It is also of great importance from whom we learn. Learning in a safe environment accelerates the development of team members and inspires them to explore and constantly improve themselves.
In agile leadership, creating a psychologically safe environment is crucial for team learning, as well as for its growth and development. An agile leader is the one who is responsible for his team, relationships within the team and, above all, trust. He is someone that other members of the team should look up to, who should be their “role model”. In one of the previous texts, we wrote about the leadership principle of leading yourself first. When we know how to lead ourselves, it becomes much easier to live in accordance with what we say and teach other people.
When we are in accordance with ourselves, we build mutual trust with team members. On the other hand, it is not uncommon that we see a leader teaching other people how to “live” some values, while even he personally does not adhere to them. Anyone who is more skilled and experienced will immediately see the conflict between what the leader is saying and what the leader is doing. It affects the trust and the image that someone builds, primarily about themselves. Like all the others, this agile leadership principle is very useful in private life. And then again we come to the point that the essence of the agile methodology is a change of mindset, i.e. ways of thinking.
Agile mindset has two inseparable, and equally essential parts: doing agile and being agile. The right balance between the two is something that every agile leader strives for. Doing agile is absolutely necessary for working with a team, because by using agile tools for processes and working with people, a leader achieves the full effectiveness of his team. On the other hand, mutual trust within the team, acceptance of changes and respect for all agile values gives us depth in leading the team and a full understanding of the complex relationships among all team members, which is the “being” part.
We cannot live agile values and not apply them practically in working with a team and vice versa, we cannot use agile tools in working with a team if we do not believe in them ourselves.
For the very end, one great example of a role model was Mahatma Gandhi. On one occasion, a mother brought to him a child who ate too many sweets in order to have Gandhi “convince” him not to eat them because they are not healthy. He told her to come again with the child in 21 days. When she came again, he approached the child and said in a soft voice, “Don’t eat a lot of sweets, they are not good for your health.” The mother then asked him in astonishment, “And why did we have to wait 21 days for you to tell him one sentence?”. “Because I ate sweets then too” Gandhi replied.