Leading an Agile team is a delicate task. By letting go of control-and-command mode, it becomes increasingly difficult to make sure that the team moves in the right direction. Mindfulness can certainly help a leader with the success of an Agile team. Let’s see how!
What is Mindfulness?
Here’s the definition of Mindfulness by Merriam-Webster.
the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
It is not a skill but a practice by which one can be completely alive at any given moment and observe everything happening around in a non-judgmental manner.
How can it help to lead an Agile team?
As a leader of an Agile, it is critical to go with the flow and make adjustments as needed. As suggested by mindfulness, instead of reacting to everything happening in a team, the leader must observe everything without judgment and correct the course only if necessary.
Here is the 4-step mantra that an Agile leader can follow:
#1 Listen with an open mind
Listening is a skill in itself. A mindful leader must use global listening skills where the prejudice is kept to a minimum. The objective of such listening is to unambiguously understand what the speaker is trying to convey and clarify assumptions.Listening with an open mind demonstrate a leader's respect for the team Click To Tweet
It also conveys the respect the leader has for the team members. Uninterrupted listening open up people and share valuable opinions which otherwise might be lost.
#2 Accept commotion in the team as normal
Another common mistake an Agile leader might make is to get in and react when there are commotions related to adoption of Agile practices.Commotion and conflicts are normal in a team new to Agile Click To Tweet
The leader must understand that such commotions are a norm and result in an healthy Agile team. Mindfulness play a vital role here to observe such conflicts and involve only when needed.
#3 Ask for Opinions before suggesting
A self-organized team must have the confidence to take decisions. A leader plays a vital role in creating a culture where this happens.
A simple start is to ask for opinions and ideas from the team before giving suggestions. The leader must play the role of a mentor and encourage team members to participate in the decision making process. This give them enough confidence and enable their growth into a self-organized team.
#4 Control with the goal of bringing self-governance
Sometimes it is necessary for the leader to control the team. It can happen when the team is immature or cannot handle a particular situation. In such cases, the goal of control must be to bring self-governance in the longer run. The leader must not shy away from managing such situations and do so with elegance and composure.
- Mindfulness is a practice by which one learns to live in the current moment and accept events without judgement or reservation
- An Agile leader can use mindfulness to successfully lead an Agile team
- The leader must listen with an open mind
- Commotion or conflicts in the team are normal and the leader must accept this reality
- Asking for opinions before suggesting improve the decision making ability of a team
- If a situation demands control by a leader, it must be done with a goal of bring self-governance
Do you use mindfulness principles to lead your Agile team? Please share your leadership strategies with us as comments to this post.