On Newness, Ego, and Servant Leadership 

Melissa Boggs, Chief ScrumMaster
 
Today wraps up week 4 on the job as the Chief ScrumMaster for Scrum Alliance. Together with Howard Sublett, our Chief Product Owner, I am blazing a trail into new territory where we embrace the Scrum values deeply and widely, stepping into these new roles instead of the traditional CEO. Here at Scrum Alliance Unscripted, we want to share that journey with you.   
 
I hate being new. It’s one reason why consulting was challenging for me. I did not enjoy being the “new girl” over and over again every couple of months. I like context. 
 
I’m sure my need for context is born from the fact that I worked at the same place for 12 years, starting at age 20. I leaned  heavily on my tribal knowledge and understanding of the complex system that was our organization. I prided myself on knowing the names of everyone’s kids, their birthdays, and also the formal and informal ways in which individuals and teams worked together. There was security in knowing and being known. There was credibility and trust, the ability to be bold. There was an established, values-driven community, and I was woven into the fabric of it. 
 
Being new feels vulnerable. You know you can be valuable, but you don’t yet know how. There is an internal pressure to produce something, contribute something, prove that you deserve to be there. Especially as a leader, your ego nudges you to prove your worth by saying something impactful or inserting your ‘VERY IMPORTANT’opinion. 
 
When I began my very first management job, my then-leader gave me the best advice. “The two most important things you can do for your first 30 days are listen- and nothing.” Of course, he didn't mean to actually do nothing. He meant to control my excitement in favor of measured listening and careful first steps. The organizational history is important. It takes a bit of time to see the threads in the fabric, and how they weave together. While new leaders bring fresh eyes and are nudged by our ego to stake territory, we need to remember the prime directive:  
 
"Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand." [Norm Kerth]
 
I’m no superhero, and no one needs to be saved here. They just deserve to be served. I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable. Taking the opportunity to recognize the significance of the work already done. Realizing that I deserve to be new. I am allowing myself the space to learn. I’m listening. Doing(next to) nothing. Just appreciating and absorbing.  
 
This is my dream job. 
E v e r y t h i n g about it is new. 
New to me. 
New to the org. 
I’m new to the org. 
The org is new to me. 
The role is new to the world. 
 
But I’ll tell you this…. I wouldn’t trade it. 
I’ve never been more inspired by the work in front of me, more filled with purpose. Newness is hard, but this time it is full of promise and opportunity. This newness is fortified by a strong and talented partner. This newness is surrounded by a warm, welcoming team of experts in their craft. This newness is backed by a unique and vibrant community. This newness I will embrace with all my might, and I pledge to keep being vulnerable and transparent as we continue this journey together. Are you in? 
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
  • Robert Frost 





 
 
Posted: 2/1/2019 11:56:56 AM by Melissa Boggs | with 1 comments


Comments
Petri Heiramo
Good luck and patience! Please keep up the blog, I want to hear what's going on and how things are.
2/9/2019 4:01:45 AM