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ScrumMaster as a Servant Leader

8 April 2016

Vyom Bharadwaj
KPIT Technologies

A ScrumMaster fills a management role; his or her responsibility is to manage the Scrum process rather than a Scrum team. A ScrumMaster is a person who fully understands Scrum and helps the Scrum team by coaching them and ensuring that all the Scrum processes are implemented correctly. He or she acts as a servant leader to the Scrum team (e.g., the product owner, the development team, and the organization).

Servant leadership as shown by the ScrumMaster has certain characteristics, as described below:

Listening: ScrumMasters as servant leaders should possess the important skill of listening intently to others. By listening intently, they identify the essence and the will of the Scrum team and help clarify that essence. The ScrumMaster should listen and reflect on this, which in turn helps enhance the servant leadership.

Empathy: ScrumMasters as servant leaders should strive to understand and empathize with the Scrum team. They should accept and recognize individuals for their unique characteristics or spirits.

Healing: ScrumMasters as servant leaders can help heal relationships among the Scrum teams. They can do this by keeping up the team spirit by understanding the team and frequently communicating with them.

Foresight: ScrumMasters should have the ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation. Foresight helps in understanding the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely outcomes of decisions for the future.

Awareness: ScrumMasters as servant leaders should have a general awareness and self-awareness so they can understand issues that involve values, ethics, and power. It is developing an approach to view situations in a more holistic and integrated way.

The above are a few of the servant leader characteristics that can help a ScrumMaster serve the Scrum team and organization in a better way. However, the list could include many other characteristics that help enhance the leadership skills of a ScrumMaster.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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