Command & Control Leadership Style vs Agile Leadership Style

Kadir Tolga ERPINAR
3 min readApr 23, 2021


Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

20 years ago, just after graduation from Civil Engineering department, I jumped into the middle of an ongoing infrastructure project as a junior Civil Engineer.

The project was complex and complicated. However the team was working in a harmony and the project was going as planned.

The project manager was one of the best managers I had ever seen. He created such an environment in the construction site that everybody working in the project were trusting and helping each other. We were empowered and self-organized team.

The Project Manager was very supportive . He was understanding and helpful even when we made mistakes. He knew that happy employees could be more creative and productive. He knew the value of being transparent and honest.

He created an environment where we felt ourselves belonging to the company like an important member of a family. We all had a positive working experience there.

However one day, boss of the company visited the construction site with his brand new black car. Most of us working in the project met him first time.

The boss was shouting to everyone for no reason and forced us to finish the project 6 months earlier than it was planned.

After the boss departed with his black car; we, all the team members, were feeling down. He destroyed all of the harmony in the project. The boss gave lots of commands and he told us that “he will come to control us later”.

We did a new plan to finish the project as the boss told to us. After careful planing together with the team, the project manager went to meet the boss to explain how we can finish the project with new workers and new equipments as the boss ordered to finish 6 months earlier .

Our project manager came back from headquarters sadly. He told that the boss wanted us to finish the project with the same team and equipments just by working harder.” But as expected, the project was not finished as the boss had ordered.

However if the boss came and created an environment that motivated everyone, most probably most of us would not resign and would finish the project on time.

As a result, in a command and control system, the leaders prefer being seen as an authority figure. They want to have the final word. They think that they know best. They give directions and orders and they treaten the staff. They just care about results, never care about others’ ideas. They feed their ego by behaving like this.

On the other hand, agile leaders give effective feedbacks. They are open, honest and respectful. They, inspire, trust and delegates and empowers the team.

Agile Leaders focus on building and sharing a common understanding and purpose. They Build a teams who can create and innovate. They build a culture of self-organizing and self-managing teams.

With the agile leadership style in the construction industry, teams believe to values of courage, respect, commitment, and openness. As a result, Construction teams are faster, so that they can produce more in less time.



Kadir Tolga ERPINAR

Construction Manager | Agile Project Manager | Lean Project Manager| Trenchless Technology Expert |