We came across a couple articles this past month that really hit home for us as Agile practitioners. We must be servant leaders. As a leader it is your job to continue to be the vision and voice reminding your team of it’s values. Michael Stallard tells us about a Retired CNO Naval Admiral Vern Clark, who was formerly the chief of the U.S. Navy from 2000 until 2005. When Admiral Clark became the chief one of the biggest issues were the re-enlistement numbers. It seemed like year over year the re-enlistement was going down. He had to do something.
“As the Navy improved sailor retention and developed greater alignment with Admiral Clark’s vision, it became faster and more responsive…Servant leaders such as Admiral Clark outperform other leaders because they move people to “surrender the me for the we” and it is nearly always the case that we accomplish more when we are pulling together than when we are drifting apart.”
Such stories give us a front row seat to how leaders work in other environments. We can glean a lot from other leaders in different industries and apply them directly to what we do in Agile software development.
Dana Brownlee reminds us how we can motivate our team during difficult times. She too reminds us that leaders must lead by example:
“A wise man once said: “Ignore everything they say, and just pay attention to what they do.” That is exactly what team members are doing…watching what leaders do! If you’re constantly telling your team that times are lean and everyone needs to do more with less, let them see you doing it!”
Dana goes on to say that as part of one’s leadership duties, they must be able to speak candidly to their team, provide support in times of personal crisis, and continue to build up relationships with the people in your team.
Team members need to know that we’re looking out for their best interests as well as the companies values and goals. While many who read this blog are in the Agile coach demographic, this even applies to you as well. Empathy and relationship-building should never be overlooked as a key component to getting a tough job done well. These couple of articles have inspired us to continue to build meaningful relationships beyond the work.
A couple ways that Agile Scout enjoys doing this?
- Grilling out with the team – Yep. We did that this past weekend!
- Meeting with team members during conferences or meetups.
- Having some meaningful conversations over lunch.
What ways do you lead your team to success?