Why an agile mindset is beneficial in the workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 8 November 2022

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Individuals with an agile mindset are open to growth and are constantly learning. Mental agility enables you to be creative and find innovative solutions to problems. Having an agile psyche typically means you're better able to lead and work with others as part of a team as you can understand others and communicate well. In this article, we explain the benefits and the typical qualities of an agile mindset.

What is an agile mindset?

An agile mindset encourages thought processes that are collaborative, flexible and aim to understand other people's points of view. Having an agile psyche can be of benefit within and outside of the workplace environment. The following qualities of an agile psyche are beneficial to all areas of life:

Empathy and respect for others

The ability to empathise and understand others is key to knowing the best way to collaborate and work together. If you can understand how your team members think and solve problems, it's much easier to work seamlessly together to produce solutions or improvements quickly and efficiently. It also helps team members to support each other and gives them the confidence to express themselves and make suggestions, without worrying that they may feel silly or adversely judged. It also creates a more pleasant work environment and makes working together a positive experience.

More empowerment

When you feel empowered to suggest or make changes within your role, you're more likely to engage with and take responsibility for the success of your project. You may want to put more effort and energy into your work and take the time to think about the best way to achieve a result, rather than just follow orders. This may result in a higher quality of work and more efficient processes as you streamline more routine jobs to give you more time and space to innovate.

Greater focus on the objective

A more agile psyche focuses on the main objective of a project and considers ways to complete the project aim efficiently and effectively. That may be completing a project before the deadline, making improvements, reducing resources or simply providing great customer service. When you have an agile psyche, you consider recommendations or suggestions from others and can make an unbiased judgement as to their value.

More flexibility

Mental agility can help you to adapt quickly to change and spot opportunities as they arise. You may also be more able to perceive potential problem areas and put strategies and processes in place to plan for these. Any setbacks or failures are learning opportunities and you can learn from them and objectively review what happened to turn them into opportunities for continuing growth and professional development.

Continuing professional development

A person with an agile psyche is always seeking to continue to improve, progress and develop. They seek to learn new things and perhaps new ways of doing things. They stay ahead of the latest developments in the profession to provide the best service and the best results. They understand that to function effectively, a holistic approach includes mental, emotional and physical health. This helps to prevent burn-out and ensure that you can stay healthy and productive.

Is an agile psyche beneficial in the workplace?

For any team to work well, a solid structure of guidelines is beneficial. These may seem to limit creativity but they enable those with an agile psyche to use the guidelines as a starting block for progress. An agile psyche uses limitations and guidelines to grow, flourish and bloom. It enables teams to adapt to change more easily, as they can work creatively and organically around the needs of the organisation and efficiently find the best solutions and processes, rather than follow them blindly or pedantically.

Related: What is an agile environment? (Key characteristics and tools)

Why it's important to have an agile psyche

There are many benefits of an agile psyche in the workplace, see the list below:

  • Adaptability to change: An agile psyche is flexible and open to opportunities such as a change in circumstances or processes.

  • Engaged workforce: A workforce with an agile psyche is far more likely to engage with their work as it may find it more interesting.

  • Increased ownership: If employees feel they can make a positive contribution to their work, they feel a personal stake in the success of the organisation or project.

  • More creative problem-solving: An ability to see beyond the problem and devise a creative solution is a key asset to an agile psyche.

  • Better team working: Greater empathy and understanding leads to improved collaboration between others.

  • Shared knowledge: The sharing of best practices, from the best way to secure a new client or write a proposal, down to simple keyboard shortcuts, are all ways of improving workflow to work more efficiently.

  • Higher quality of work: By working more efficiently, more time is available to ensure quality work is produced. More personal responsibility and ownership also encourage employees to take more time to consider the standard of their work.

  • Greater quantity of work: Working more efficiently allows you to complete a greater quantity of work in the same or a shorter timeframe.

  • Customer benefits: The customer benefits from employees who feel empowered to solve any problems the customer has, and don't feel they have to follow the rules rigidly or pedantically.

  • Shared success: Greater teamwork means a greater feeling of shared success. If one team member is successful, the other members of the team can share in that success because everyone has supported each other.

  • Better leadership: A leader with an agile psyche can listen to all ideas and opinions and make an objective and informed decision to provide the best possible outcome.

Related: What is an agile project manager? (Plus how to become one)

Tips to achieve an agile psyche in the workplace

If you would like to improve your mental agility or the mental agility of your team, the following tips may be beneficial. Building an agile psyche is an ongoing process as it's something that may require regular practice. The following recommendations can help you:

Understanding

Make sure that your team understands the benefits of an agile psyche. If they understand why it's a beneficial mindset to have, they may be more open to adopting it. With practice and encouragement, team members may start to naturally include this in the way they work and interact.

Collaboration

The best way to achieve any goal as part of a team is to make the most of each other's strengths and experience and mitigate each other's weaknesses. Continuing to communicate well and encourage openness ensures the flow of knowledge and best practices continue. The open sharing of any concerns helps to plan for any anticipated problems or setbacks.

Be mindful

Being mindful helps you to be present and to be more aware of how you're feeling, which are key elements of an agile psyche. It may help you to respond rather than react to others, and to situations that arise. It's easy to feel stressed in urgent situations and being mindful helps you to stay calm and clear-headed.

Be logical and objective

Critical thinking is a key skill component of an agile psyche. It enables you to find the best solution in any given situation by approaching any problem systematically and consistently. You can achieve this by analysing the available evidence and making an objective evaluation.

Communicate clearly

When team members know exactly what to do and how much time they have, they're able to plan their workload more effectively and efficiently. This ensures that projects are of a high standard and meet deadlines. With excellent communication, a successful team knows what they're doing and why.

Related: What is agile project management? (Everything you need to know)

Learn to listen

The ability to listen is crucial to good communication. A good listener allows space for someone to express their needs or to share feedback without reacting. Any preconceptions are put aside to avoid misunderstanding.

Seek feedback

Asking for constructive criticism and feedback is a useful way to continuously improve and is a crucial part of professional development. Feedback from within the organisation (such as from other departments) and from without (such as from customers) is beneficial to see where improvements you could make. It may provide suggestions that you or other team members have not thought about.

Related:

  • What is an agile coach? Duties and benefits

  • What is SAFe agile? (The benefits and how to improve)

  • Agile project planning (with characteristics and benefits)

  • Agile project management principles (with values and steps)

  • What does an Agile delivery manager do? (With skills info)


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