Common (Agile) Leadership Traps

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Common (Agile) Leadership Traps

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If you are a leader in agile organizational contexts…

And you score high (meaning they resonate with your behavior) on the following anti-patterns…

You just might want take some time for personal reflection, or inquire about some personal coaching, or simply pivot to another job 😉 

1.     You are double and triple booked on your calendars every day, and it’s somewhat of a badge of honor.

a.     This often appears to be ego-driven or power-driven.

b.     It can also be driven by FOMO.

2.     You’re often running from meeting to meeting, to meeting with no time in between; late for one, distracted, and leaving early.

a.     Presence is the ability to center and be fully there (present) for each activity. Clearly, presence is impossible here.

3.     You get 100’s of emails a day looking for your approval, permission, feedback, and input. You’re often an impediment to progress across a wide variety of people.

a.     How many team email exchanges are you “copied on”? Every one of these implies a tiny bit less empowerment, delegation, autonomy on the part of your teams.

4.     When you take a vacation, you stay connected because the organization “needs you” to be available in order for things to run smoothly.

a.     Another indication her is missing important family/personal activities. Not having any balance.

b.     Empowerment, delegation, and extending trust are also a part of it.

5.     When you give feedback to people, it’s usually constructive or corrective only (not positive or appreciative) and you rarely have time for a deeper conversation.

a.     Sometimes this is an excuse to not get too close to people or avoid relationship building.

6.     You really don’t understand all aspects (their whole lives, ) of those you work with. Simply put, you don’t have the time to really build relationships.

a.     And it does take time. Time to gain trust, time to gain understanding, time for deeper conversations, time to share yourself. Time for relationships!

7.     Self-care? Nope. Self-awareness? Nope. Reflection time? Nope.

a.     This is related to #4. But really focuses on you. Are you putting your oxygen mask on first?

8.     Your teams simply aren’t taking accountability and responsibility without your (nearly continuous) attention.

a.     Consider that this might be a You problem as opposed to being a Team problem. What are you doing to create a culture of responsibility?

b.     Are you growing your teams? Adopting what Bill Joiner refers to as a Catalyst Leader mindset?

9.     You are continuously focusing on tactical execution (problem-solving, issue management, short-term planning) and not looking out strategically. There is simply no time.

a.     Often there is a fear of the strategic – either imposter syndrome, or FOMO on the tactical, or a feeling that it’s not important.

10.  You’re not happy. That is, you’re not doing what you enjoy doing. You have little/no joy in your day-to-day work. You might laugh, you might cry, and you might be energized, but the joy is missing.

a.     There’s that saying – if you’re doing what you love, then you’ve never worked a day in your life. Are you doing what you love?

Now I want you to assess yourself for all 10 statements. Using an NPS or 1-10 scale. And be honest. When in doubt, rate yourself higher on the scale (as we are usually less self-aware). 

  • 1 – being you reflect yourself 0% in the spirit / intent of the statement?

  • 10 – being you reflect yourself 100% in the spirit & intent of the statement?

  • 5 – being you reflect yourself ~50% …

  • And so on. 

Add them all up.

This is not a scientific analysis, but more of a reflection too for you. If you are under 50, I’d say you might have some light to moderate reflection to do and some adjustments in your leadership style and approach.

If you’re over 75-80, then I’d say you probably need to find a mentor and/or a coach to help you reflect on some meaningful adjusts. Not because I’m saying say, but for yourself and for your teams.

Yeah yeah, yeah….

I’m a Senior VP at a FinTech organization leading hundreds or thousands of resources. I’ve worked hard all of my life and the leadership recipe I’ve used clearly works. Just look at the # of reports in my organization, look at my salary, and look at my bonuses.

Why consider any of this gobbledy-gook? Why change anything?  

Well, you don’t have to.

But at the very least, take this short assessment and see where you surface on these 10 considerations. Then, grab your favorite beverage, go into a quiet room, close your eyes and consider the feedback you’ve just given yourself.

Look deep inside yourself and reflect…Are you who you want to be? If yes, then continue. If no, then begin by imagining what you’d like to be…

Stay agile my friends,


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