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5 Crucial Servant Leadership Skills For Scrum Masters

October 09, 2013

Servant leadership strives to generate a competitive advantage by enabling great team work and generate even greater form of human capital.

The Scrum Master is essentially a management role, but the management style is dramatically different than traditional management. The Scrum Master acts in a servant leadership capacity. In order to become a great servant leader, the Scrum Master must strive to develop following five crucial servant leadership characteristics

  1. Listening

  2. Empathy

  3. Awareness

  4. Persuasion

  5. Commitment to the growth of the people

1. Listening

Servant leaders identify and clarify the will of a group. They listen carefully equally to what’s being said and the unspoken part of the communication.

Excellent communication skills are a hallmark of servant leadership. It’s essential even for a traditional manager for that matter. Listening is the critical and much under-utilised ingredient. The Scrum Master as a servant leader focusses on actively listening to the team members. It helps the Scrum Master to provide much needed support to the team members which leads to better problem solving problems and decision making in the team.

2. Empathy

People need to be accepted and recognised for their special and unique spirit. Servant leaders strive to understand and empathise with others. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when their behaviour or performance needs critical attention.

The Scrum Master must attempt to understand and empathise with others. Team members may be considered not only as employees, but also as people who need respect and appreciation for their personal development.

3. Awareness

Servant leaders hone their leadership skills by becoming more aware, and especially more self-aware. Nothing strengthens the servant leader more than self awareness. Making a life long commitment to improve awareness can be scary proposition, you never know what you may discover down the line.

A servant leader deliberately build general awareness and especially self-awareness. He must strive to have the ability to view situations from a more integrated, holistic position. As a result, he gets a better understanding of himself, his team members and the help they need.

4. Persuasion

Servant leaders do not abuse their power and status by coercing compliance. They try to persuade those they manage. This is one of the biggest differentiator that distinguishes servant leadership from traditional, command and control techniques. The servant leader is effective at creating agreements within teams.

5. Commitment to the Growth of People

People are critical to the success of the teams. A team members on a professional and personal growth plan makes more significant contribution to the team. Servant leadership principles puts sharp emphasis on the growth the people.

A servant leader nurtures the professional and at times personal growth of the team members. Rather, so much so that servant leaders make themselves responsible for serving the growth needs of the team members.

Learn more about the Scrum Master role in one of our Scrum Master courses.

© Faisal Mahmood

Servant Leadership

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