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Interesting blog posts on Leadership (November 27, 2009)

The seven levels of authority or how to empower people

Every topic requires its own level of authority, and the further you go the better it is. But in some cases, it is best to start by telling or selling, and then gradually increase the authority of team members as their experience grows. [Choosing Authority Levels for Team Members – NOOP.NL].

Using Humility to Improve Performance

When people act humbly, they are acknowledging their limitations and accepting that they cannot go it alone. This mindset is valuable to a team because it serves as an invitation for others to help. [Use Humility to Improve Performance – John Baldoni – HarvardBusiness.org].

Listening, Humility, and Accountability as part of Leadership Training

GE has revised the curriculum at Crotonville, its famed management development center, to learn from mistakes it made in the current recession. There is an emphasis on teaching executives to focus on humility and listening as well as encouraging them “to challenge assumptions, think more globally,” and be “more accountable.” Listening, humility, and accountability are good first steps to inspiration; and assumption busting and global thinking may help with setting better direction. [What It Takes to Lead Now – John Baldoni – HarvardBusiness.org].

Self-Organizing Team versus Anarchy

First, I’d like to get away from the idea that agile teams are leaderless and that leadership only revolves around the team depending on the situation (this type of situational leadership does occur, and often, it just does not replace a good leader). There is just too much experience and management literature that shows that good leaders make a big difference. The anarchist wants to eliminate leaders and merely go with situational leadership. However, there is also a large contingent in the agile community that think the right approach is to change the style of leadership, not to eliminate leaders. It’s easy to rail against poor managers or leaders and advocate eliminating them. It’s much harder to work with organizations to change their leadership style to one that supports an agile environment. [The Cutter Blog » Blog Archive » No More Self-Organizing Teams].

Leadership and Agile Teams

As for leadership, it’s like mom-and-apple-pie. Everyone seems to agree that leadership is a good thing, don’t they? Though how that leadership is appointed, sanctioned or manifested is the subject of debate, I think we all agree that leadership is a good thing on Agile teams. My own position is that, if we can find ways to reduce non-value added management work caused by the reality of organizational silos (via Lean Kanban systems, etc), we can then all — managers and non-managers alike — get down to the important business of figuring how to lead our Agile teams. Until then, having a role that addresses the management work is simply a necessity. [LitheSpeed’s LitheBlog: Exploring Lean and Agile: Is it Groundhog Day? Thoughts on Self Organization, Self-Discipline & Light Touch Leadership].

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