An agile leader must be resourceful, flexible, and resilient in the face of change.

Agile leaders are able to thoroughly absorb information and wisely use that knowledge to lead others in unfamiliar situations. In addition to a strong, foundational knowledge base in key business disciplines, each agile leader is an archer with a quiver of diverse arrows – skills, tools, experiences – which they can incisively choose and shoot when needed. They intentionally model agility for others to follow their actions. They are Broad Thinkers and Strong Leaders.

Among many qualities, agile leaders:

  • Drive change even amid uncertainty. Actively expect conditions to change and don’t get stuck on how a plan was “supposed to” work. Have clarity on the “end-game” and communicate to others how the organization will get there. View change as an opportunity. Use knowledge and experience to effectively deal with the here-and-now realities.
  • Think critically about possibilities and implications, then make a decisive move. Play chess while everyone else is playing checkers; think several steps ahead. Patiently assess and analyze the environment and adjust tactics and timing to fit goals. Anticipate the broader implications of choices and strive to make socially responsible business decisions. Be strategic not only in your decisions, but also their deployment.
  • See things from different perspectives and operate in many different systems of thinking. Feel comfortable in any discipline. Look at situations through different lenses to bring clarity and creative ideas to a business. Understand the key objectives and priorities within various fields. Recognize that great ideas can come from all levels and various areas throughout the business. Remove historic and functional biases to consider alternative perspectives. Keep learning and stay curious.
  • Flex style to meet demands and situations. Communicate with personnel at all levels of the organization and adapt reactions and decisions depending on challenges presented. Make connections between diverse people and organizations in order to engage and inspire others. Understand what’s needed to gain the trust of colleagues and customers, ultimately assuring quick buy-in and action.
  • Have keen self-awareness and self-regulation. Understand capabilities and recognize limitations. Manage emotions and reactions instead of letting them take over. Be ethical when making decisions. Creatively fill in gaps by improving skills or finding and developing talent. Remain resilient, but resist rigidity.


LFGSM Leaders on Agile Leadership

Business moves so quickly now that effective leaders must reflect that speed and agility.

- Carrie Buchwald, VP of Corporate Learning Solutions, LFGSM

Leaders must be prepared to rearrange the deck chairs. We asked much of our leadership team to take assignments in other divisions, in other parts of the world every few years. It brings a fresh set of new ideas, creative opportunities and connections with clients that incite and invigorate reinvention itself.

- Gary Conrad, former Executive VP, Anixter, and LFGSM Business Leader Faculty®