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I am writing this to discuss the role of leadership in a hybrid culture. Hybrid means, in a project management sense, that IT departments are using a combination of waterfall and agile software development methods to delivery projects. Some call this Agil-Fall or Water-Agility; regardless of the term, what is needed is leadership, whether that is from the agile project manager, developer, tester, or product owner. I have been in IT department where employees have been employed for over 20 years and have the absolutely refuse to lead. Leading is not being knowledgeable about a system, process, or tasks. Leadership is understanding what needs to be done and collaborating with those that it impacts and leading them to resolving the issue, problem, or task. I have worked with very knowledgeable people who will not, nor ever, lead! They can tell you what to do but in the next sentence, say…We Need a Meeting To…

Leadership does not require a meeting. Leadership requires knowledge, fearlessness, humility, and accountability. Knowledge in knowing what is required to complete a task; fearlessness, by involving others so they can work together as a team, even if you do not like that person(s) and even if that means they disagree with your approach and come up with a new approach. Humility in realizing that your approach is not the best one and you support what the group decides; and accountability in holding yourself, and others, responsible for getting it done. Unfortunately, in several IT departments, they are devoid of leadership. From senior executives to hourly employees. We have become culture of kicking the can down the road for someone else to work on or pointing fingers when something doesn’t get done…even when we know what needs to get done.

One of the things I like about Agile is that accountability is inherit in the process. It is very hard to point fingers when you meet daily to give an update on your work. It is very hard to kick the can down the road when you’re the one responsible for completing the work and you know others are dependent on you. Employees need to be empowered to solve their own problems, learn from their mistakes, and hold other employees accountable. Managers need to become more servant in their leadership in support of their direct reports. Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is therefore cultivated, not granted! Your thoughts?

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