Agile leadership - the most common fallacies and best tips

What is agile leadership?

"We need agile managers!" is the motto of many companies that want to integrate agile working methods into their organisation. An understandable objective. Because with agile - as with many change processes - it is essential that managers lead the way. But when it comes to the question of what actually constitutes agile leadership, there is disagreement in many places. In this article, we share our perspective on agile leadership and take a look at the three key components of mindset, processes and roles. We also clear up common misconceptions and provide tips on how you and your team can successfully work in an agile way.

Agile mindset
Agile processes
Agile roles

Interim conclusion: prerequisites for agile leadership

Our view of agile leadership is based on a balanced view of mindset, processes and roles. Agile leadership is not a one-(wo-)man show: one person alone can never "lead agilely", because agile always encompasses the team and the organisation. Agile leadership only arises from the interaction between the mindset of the person, the processes of the organisation and the roles in the team. A manager can only lead in a truly agile way if these three parameters are right. Practice also shows that the behaviour of middle and senior managers is crucial (both positively and negatively) for the success of agile working. The following explanations of misunderstandings and tips will help you to avoid pitfalls and empower your employees in the best possible way.

Two sides of the same coin


The success of agile working methods depends on a consistent focus on business impact and regular reflection to enable faster product development, customer focus and more motivated employees. Inspect and adapt!


Agile mindsets and methods create hybrid organisations. What does good leadership mean in this new context? How do "high-performance" teams develop? And how do we create a culture in which effective leadership is possible?

The five biggest misconceptions of agile leadership

1. agile solves all problems
2. agile means working without a plan
3. agile is a question of method
4. as a servant leader, I solve the problems
5 We know our customers!

And now? Six practical tips for agile leadership

1. know your own role
2. enable the team to organise itself
3. motivate through transparency
4. exemplify attitude
5. focus on priorities
6. give direction

Delegation Poker

Continuous improvements through retrospectives


There is no magic formula for successful agile leadership. But our tips are a start. If you would like to find out how we can support you with issues relating to agile working, please contact us.

Talk to us

Lucas Brosi
Lucas Brosi
Associate Principal
York von Negenborn
York von Negenborn
Project Manager


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