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The secrets of agile leadership

Cegos Team

We live in interesting times. Perhaps more interesting that many of us would like, thanks to the volatility and uncertainty of the world around us. This all makes the job of leadership much more difficult, but also presents interesting challenges that the best leaders embrace.

In the second episode of our new podcast – The Leadership Adventure – the podcast host Olga Dudko talks to Christelle Delavaud, Personnel Development Manager at Cegos Group about what it takes to become an agile leader.

Christelle, who has over 20 years’ experience developing and managing talent, believes that the right mindset and the ability to inspire are two of the most powerful ingredients of modern leadership.

“You have to face the challenges and novelty of the future,” says Christelle. “You must also have a willingness to learn new things, come outside your comfort zone and develop a mindset that is ready for change.”

Skillset for agile leadership

One exemplar of agile leadership comes from Virgin boss Richard Branson. His mantra – ‘every day I learn something new’ – is key to developing the flexibility and strength to become an accomplished leader. This approach has led to Branson building a diverse empire of companies, ranging from record stores to banks and even adventures into space.

Along the journey, Branson has failed many times; a reality Christelle says is something leaders should learn to live with. They can do this by developing what she calls an ‘innovative mindset’, embracing the challenges ahead rather than fighting them.

When asked to identify the two skills she thinks most important for agile leadership, Christine mentions the ability to identify the potential in people and the talent to communicate effectively with them.

“Agile leaders need a vision, determination and perseverance,” she says. “They need a clear vision of what they want and how to achieve it. But how do you do that in times of uncertainty? The key is to have different options, collect and analyse data, and give yourself permission to fail.”

Time to challenge the hierarchy

Agile leaders can make a huge impact on a company. But, according to Christelle, the company itself must be agile to get the best results.

“The traditional hierarchy involves telling people what to do and how, not why,” she says. “Companies must liberate hierarchy to make the company more agile, so that people have more autonomy and are able to make decisions quickly. That’s the best way to deal with market turbulence.”

Team engagement is also a crucial element of agile leadership, especially as many of us now work in a hybrid environment. It is a significant challenge, but Christelle asserts that leaders must first engage themselves before trying to engage others. It is very difficult to have confidence in your vision and message if you don’t believe in it yourself. Leaders must have the passion to carry a vision into reality and enable horizontal decision making to succeed.

Towards the end of the interview, Christelle is asked about the first critical steps a leader needs to take towards becoming truly agile. She offers a concise but compelling list of actions that can quickly transform your leadership style. Listen to the podcast to find out exactly what they are!

Agile leadership can be cultivated. But it takes courage and a willingness to be open, empathic and pro-active. The world is unlikely to become stable anytime soon. So, it’s up to the leaders of today and tomorrow to adopt an approach that meets everchanging challenges along with the needs of the modern workforce.

Episode 2 of The Leadership Adventure: Agile Leadership – is available wherever you get your podcasts. Or click below to listen to it.

Discover or rediscover the other episodes of the Leadership Adventure podcasts

Written by

Cegos Team

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