Listen to Simon Hayward from Cirrus on the AMBA Ambition podcast.
What does agile leadership really mean? In the latest 20-minute episode of the Association of MBAs Ambition podcast, Cirrus CEO Dr Simon Hayward highlights the characteristics of agile leaders. He explains why agile leadership is important for building teams and organisations that can adapt and thrive in an era of disruption, and draws on research and real-world examples to demonstrate the impact that agile leaders can have.
Simon talks about his own career in leadership and consultancy, and his most recent book, The Agile Leader.
He also refers to articles he has written for the Association of MBAs on the agile leadership paradox (the need for agile leaders to be both enablers and disruptors at the same time) and how to overcome the most common barriers to agility. Often, the greatest barriers are experienced by large, long-established organisations who may have legacies of bureaucracy and hierarchy and can be quite risk averse. To become more agile, these organisations need to break down silos, create cultures of experimentation, and learn from mistakes rather than apportion blame.
Referring to his ongoing research into agile team working with Alliance Manchester Business School into agile team working, Simon also reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on agility. The research identified six key factors of team agility and found that agile teams have proved resilient in the face of pandemic-related change, with 80% of team members reporting that they were able to maintain or improve productivity. However, Simon also highlights the challenge of maintaining social connections in an era of remote and hybrid working, and the need for agile leaders to find new and innovative ways of building these.
His top tips for becoming a more agile leader? Create an environment of psychological safety and trust, where people have the freedom and confidence to experiment, learn and grow. And for everyone feeling overwhelmed right now, he advocates ruthless prioritisation. Identify your most critical objectives. Focus on the few things that will make the biggest difference, and help the people around you to do the same.