The ScrumMaster 3-Step Dance

The other day, someone asked.  “So how do I do this servant leader role ? How do I develop self-organized teams,  not use command and control, and still have the capability to meet organizational expectations?” It’s not the first time, in fact it may be the most persistent question asked over the past ten years.  I don’t have a silver bullet answer, but I can share with you what I found worked for me and I share with the people who come to my classes.  I call it the ScrumMaster ’3 Step’ Dance.  It’s not hard to do, the difficulty is in finding a rhythm that suits you.

Step 1. Lead from the front using the leader part of servant leader. Use this when the team is lost, going off the rails or about to run back into the burning barn of traditional project management.  As soon as the team gets their bearings, starts being honest with themselves, or chooses not to get burned again, move immediately one step back and to the side.

Step 2. Coach from the side. Be there on the sideline giving support, offering suggestions and providing guidance. Shift to Socratic method.  Once the team gets their confidence back, take another step back, moving behind the team.

Step 3.  Mentor from the rear.  look for patterns, learn how the team(s) are moving ahead through their challenges so you can lead them when they ask for help.  Remember you are now a firemen always ready to go when the team rings the bell.  When you get to the fire you’ll know which steps to take. 

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