Three Levels of Leadership Agility


it will be helpful in achieving valued outcomes.

Catalysts can be assertive or accommodative, as the situation requires, though they most prefer a balanced style where they assert their own views, then immediately inquire about others' views. Because of their genuine interest in learning from diverse viewpoints, they are proactive in seeking and utilizing feedback

Thus, as team leaders become more agile, their capacity for collaboration increases, and they develop a genuine and increasingly proactive interest in feedback of all kinds, setting a tone within the team that supports and encourages agile practices.

Assessing Your Leadership Agility
Accelerating change and increasing interdependence mean that higher levels of agility are essential regardless of your organizational position. If you want to increase your own leadership agility, you can use the chart presented earlier to assess your current level of agility. To supplement your self-assessment, ask a few trusted colleagues to tell you where they thin k you function most of the time. [3]

Developing Leadership Agility
In our experience, the best support for increasing your agility is a workshop, coaching relationship, or action learning program that focuses specifically on leadership agility. Ultimately, however, the primary "engine" for developing leadership ability is self-leadership: Start by assessing your current agility level. Then ask yourself whether and you want to develop further within your current level or to the next level. Set specific leadership development goals (new behaviors) that match this aspiration.

Once you've set your leadership development goals, the key to increasing your agility is to use your everyday initiatives to experiment with more agile behaviors. Self-leadership is an ongoing, cyclical process of setting objectives, clarifying a plan for achieving these objectives, taking action, then reflecting on and learning from your experience.

Repeatedly engaging in self-leadership allows you to use the challenges you face everyday to increase your agility. The more you nurture a resilient, self-empowering attitude toward these challenges, the more your own commitment to self-leadership and leadership agility will grow. With this practice as your ally, you'll be able to meet the changes and complications that come your way with curiosity and optimism - and you'll be able to help others to do the same.

About the author:  Bill Joiner is co-author of Leadership Agility and co-founder of ChangeWise, a leadership and organization development firm with offices in Boston and San Francisco. Bill provides talks and seminars on leadership agility. He is a seasoned organization and leadership development consultant with 30 years of experience completing successful projects with companies based in the US, Canada, and Europe. Bill has a Doctorate from Harvard University, where he worked with Chris Argyris and Don Schon, and an MBA. Bill welcomes dialogue with anyone interested in the topic of agile leadership. 

[1] Leadership Agility: Five levels of mastery for anticipating and initiating change, Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2007), pp. 230-33.
[2] Jim Hightower, "History: The Agile Manifesto,"
[3] ChangeWise has also developedthe Leadership Agility 360, an online assessment tool based on its research to help assess leadership agility levels.

About the author

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