Power skills set you apart in your current and future career. In Disciplined Agile® (DA™), we organize power skills into two categories: essential skills and leadership styles. An essential skill is one that is necessary for executing and learning in the workplace. A leadership style is how you direct, motivate, coach, guide, and manage people.
There are several essential skills that are critical for disciplined agilists:
- Active listening. This is fully concentrating on what is being said, giving full attention to the speaker, and being seen doing so by the speaker.
- Communication. Communication skills enable you to give and receive different types of information. Communication skills involve listening, speaking, observing, and empathizing. There are various communication strategies you may employ, including face-to-face conversation, videoconferencing, email, documentation, and more.
- Conflict management. These are abilities that help you manage and resolve how conflict affects you, those you work with, and your workplace.
- Emotional intelligence (EI). EI, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to understand, use, and manage your emotions. There are four aspects of EI: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management. High EI enables you to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and manage conflict.
- Empathy. Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place.
- Negotiation. Negotiation is back-and-forth communication to reach an agreement between you and one or more other parties. Negotiation is required when you cannot achieve your objectives alone.
- Problem-solving. This is the process of identifying a problem; determining its cause(s); identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives to address the problem; and executing the solution.
- Teamwork. Teamwork is the act of working collaboratively with a group of people to achieve a common goal.
There are several common leadership styles:
- Coaching. This style involves recognizing team members’ strengths, weaknesses, and motivations to help them improve.
- Delegating. This is an approach where a leader empowers an individual to exercise autonomy by providing them with the overall vision and then trusting them to deliver agreed-upon results.
- Directing. With this leadership style, you give staff the authority and responsibility to complete work on their own. You will still give direction and support as needed to ensure the person understands what is to be accomplished and that they have the necessary resources.
- Host. A host leader moves effortlessly between acting as a facilitator and acting in service. Facilitation includes stepping forward, planning, inviting, introducing, and providing resources. Service includes stepping back, encouraging, giving space, and joining in.
- Servant. A servant leader focuses on the growth and well-being of the people they lead.
- Supporting. Supportive leaders work with people until they are empowered and skilled enough to handle tasks with minimal supervision in the future, supporting them as needed.
- Transactional. With transactional leadership, employees are rewarded when successful and reprimanded or punished when they fail.
- Transformational. Transformational leadership causes or motivates change in individuals and social systems. Ideally, it creates valuable and positive change with an end goal of developing followers into leaders.