Is it too much of a stretch to ask managers in an emerging Agile environment to become "Servant Leaders"?

According to both VersionOne's State of Agile Report and the Harvard Business Review, "Culture" is the #1 challenge for organizations adopting and scaling Agile. But what's feeding that challenge? The people at the very top are dazzled by the potential of Agile for both top-line and bottom-line improvements. The people at the grassroots of Agile are excited by growth in both autonomy and personal mastery. But where does this leave the people in the middle - the managers who proudly guided the day-to-day operation of the business? What's in it for them? The last three annual VersionOne State of Agile Reports identified "Management support" as one of the top 3 challenges to the success of Agile. Why is that? Could it be that whenever managers ask what their role becomes in an Agile environment, our rote answer as Agile practitioners typically includes the words "Servant Leader"? And how often has our answer been met with a quizzical look from managers as they anchor on the word "servant"? This talk will:

  • Explore the obstacles to introducing servant leadership in a traditionally managed organization
  • Introduce a way forward for both managers and staff to adapt to a servant leadership paradigm
  • Identify the role HR can take to support management on their journey of change

Moving from traditional leadership to servant leadership will require managers and staff alike to change. In the words of a senior manager: "I've come to realize that the organization's Agile transformation needs to start with my own personal transformation". To bridge the gap, managers and staff will need empathy and practical guidance. The intent of this talk will be to start building that bridge leveraging the Arbinger Institute's Pyramid of Influence.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Scene from the movie "A Bridge Too Far"
  • What's the role of management in Agile? (Audience participation)
  • Servant Leader: "Servant? - WTF?!?"
  • Are we ready for this? (Audience participation)
  • Introducing the Arbinger Institute's Pyramid of Influence
  • Where is HR in this?

Learning Outcome

  1. Better understand what the role of "Manager" can be in an Agile environment
  2. Better understand the challenges facing management and staff in transforming themselves in an Agile environment
  3. Gain knowledge of a tool and ways to start mitigating the challenges

Target Audience

Managers, Leaders, HR Professionals, Agile Coaches, Agile Practitioners

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

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