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Agile Leadership

August 15, 2022

By: G. Edward DeSeve

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This blog is the third in a series based on the Integrated Framework for Action, described below. The AGC continues to refine the Framework and the Principles on which it is based and would be pleased to receive comments, questions and suggestions for improvement. Comments can be sent to agilegov@napawash.org

Defining Leadership

The study of leadership has deep and abiding pathways that cannot be quickly summarized. My own study of leadership has been influenced by the seminal work of James MacGregor Burns. In his 1971 book, “Leadership,” Burns distinguished between transactional and transformational leadership. The first is the everyday task of guiding of an organization in going about its assigned functions. It may include some give and take, some compromises, and even finding solutions to roadblocks.

However, Burns distinguishes this from transformational leadership which he says, “cuts more profoundly. It is “to cause a metamorphosis in form or structure.” To use an old analogy, transactional leadership may be making the trains run on time but transformational leadership enabled completion of the Intercontinental Railway which reduced the time it took to cross the nation from four months to four days.

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