Four Mistakes Agile Leaders Need to Avoid

Every association needs an Agile leader to steer the ship towards peak efficiency and sustainability. The association world is highly competitive, complex, and constantly evolving.

But while Agile leaders may possess many qualities that are the engine of the success of their association, it is also important for them to remember that they are not immune to the potential pitfalls of leadership.

What often decides the long-term accomplishments of an Agile leader is their ability to avoid committing certain errors–and, if they do–their willingness to make the necessary adjustments to not repeat them.

Because of this, we have compiled a list of the four biggest problems an association’s Agile leader can face–and how to deal with them:

Lacking or Ineffective Communication

Typically, Agile leaders are well-recognized for generating innovative ideas and formulating nicely structured strategies that encompass all of the areas required to plan, implement, and execute the objectives of a project. This includes understanding which team members should be assigned certain tasks, as well as what timeframes and deadlines are appropriate for the project.

What often leads to disorganization and obstacles, however, is when an Agile leader fails to clearly and effectively communicate the vision in their head and onto the team.

In order for Agile leaders to get the best results from their team, it is imperative that each team member is assigned a clearly defined role, defined expectations, and a defined procedure.

While Agile leaders may have a promising vision and brilliant solutions, if they are unable to convey these effectively, it will only lead to confusion, frustration, and underperformance.

To avoid making this mistake, Agile leaders should always maintain a straight line of communication with their team.

If they see warning signs of any potential issues or concerns with the project, the leader must be proactive and discuss these matters with the team before the issue escalates or additional problems arise. Moreover, Agile leaders should allow for open dialogues with the team; after all, team members may have their own ideas and suggestions on how to better complete a task!

A great communicator will encourage their team by granting their team the freedom to approach, steering them towards smarter, more optimized results and happy, more fulfilled members.

An Agile Leader Not Hiring the Right Team Members

While it is important for an Agile leader to search for the best and brightest with whom to assemble their team, they must not neglect the importance of team fit as well.

Hiring the wrong team members can lead to an unmitigated disaster. Granted, the wrong team member may still bring numerous positive attributes to the table–however, if they join the team with a bad/negative attitude, poor work ethic, refusal to follow protocol, or expectations of special treatment, this can destroy team morale and cause tension, in-fighting, resentment, and overall poor results.

To increase the odds of maintaining great team chemistry, an Agile leader should vet any potential hire thoroughly.

This involves ensuring that the candidate not only has the right attitude and values but also the right mindset, focus, and work ethic for the team. By doing this, an Agile leader can work with confidence and ease knowing that they can trust every person on their team to fulfill their role and get the job done.

Additionally, it is crucial to rule with wisdom and not with stubbornness; if a team member is not working out and is no longer the right fit, do not keep them out of a sense of loyalty or refusal to admit your mistake. Have a frank discussion with the member and see what can be changed; if “nothing”, they may be better suited to another project.

An Agile Leader Implementing Changes Too Quickly

The late legendary college basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

In today’s global marketplace, an Agile leader needs to make quick decisions to avoid competition leaving their association in the dust. However, too much hurrying can result in rash decisions that only lead to even less desirable outcomes.

Having a promising vision to implement changes is great. But, when an Agile leader rushes too far ahead, many problems can arise.

For instance, rushing could indicate a haphazardly constructed plan. If any flaws arise, the Agile leader or team may not be fully prepared to deal with them. Implementing rushed changes may also mean that the team is not ready to adapt, or else lead to them undergoing unnecessary pressure to complete tasks with unrealistic expectations; this can lead to poor execution and disappointing results which, in turn, can lead to the team losing faith in their leader and feeling like they were put in a position to fail.

Yes, an Agile leader must implement changes in a timely fashion. However, this alone is not enough. They must also combine their vision with intelligence, patience, and scrutiny. Keeping an alternative solution or two in their back pocket doesn’t hurt either!

Not Addressing Dysfunction within the Organization

Several barriers emerge when transitioning to an Agile environment.

For example, the culture of a workplace can be dysfunctional, where there is little to no respect between management and team members. There could be complaints of inequality or favoritism, and of team members that do not work well with others.

Team members can also feel stifled if they believe their contributions are devalued, or if they are denied the opportunity to expand their horizons. A lack of a firm structure, strategies, and objectives can also be a hindrance in the workplace, which can lead to confusion over the definitions of roles within the team.

Management can fail to demonstrate flexibility when dealing with unforeseen obstacles, or the team may show a hesitancy or unwillingness to adapt during the transition to an Agile environment.

If an Agile leader fails to address any of these matters, the issues will continue to manifest and could even jeopardize the long-term growth and success of the organization!

If a team still has reservations about transitioning to an Agile environment, the leader should encourage them by highlighting Agile’s promotion of employee freedom to think outside the box.

Just think–team members would no longer have to waste time with excessive documentation but focus on strategy and development instead! Now, that’s a win for everyone involved.


While there are several daunting issues that can face an association’s Agile leader–poor communication, ill-fitting hires, recklessly hasty changes, and dysfunction in the workplace–every problem has a solution. With an open line of communication, a vetted team, a steady pace, a culture of respect, and a determined Agile lead, anything is possible!