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Understanding Supporting Leadership in Scrum

Posted by SCRUMstudy® on November 23, 2022

Categories: Agile Frameworks Scrum Scrum Master Scrum Principles Scrum Processes

Understanding Supporting Leadership in Scrum

Leaders employ listening, empathy, commitment, and insight while sharing power and authority with team members. Supporting leaders are stewards who achieve results by focusing on the needs of the team. This style is the embodiment of the Scrum Master role.

The preferred leadership style for Scrum projects is Supporting Leadership. Larry Spears identifies ten traits that every effective leader should possess:

  1.  Listening—Supporting leaders are expected to listen intently and receptively to what is being said, or not said. They are able to get in touch with their inner voice to understand and reflect on their own feelings.
  2.  Empathy—Good supporting leaders accept and recognize individuals for their special and unique skills and abilities. They assume workers have good intentions and accept them as individuals, even when there are behavioural or performance issues.
  3.  Healing—The motivation and potential to heal oneself and one’s relationship with others is a strong trait of servant leaders. Supporting leaders recognize and take the opportunity to help their colleagues who are experiencing emotional pain.
  4.  Awareness—Awareness and particularly self-awareness is a trait of supporting leaders. This allows them to better understand and integrate issues such as those related to ethics, power, and values.
  5.  Persuasion—Supporting leaders use persuasion, rather than their positional authority to gain group consensus and make decisions. Rather than forcing compliance and coercion as is typical in some authoritarian management styles, supporting leaders practice persuasion.
  6.  Conceptualization—The ability to view and analyse problems (in an organization) from a broader conceptual and visionary perspective, rather than focusing on merely the immediate short-term goals, is a unique skill of good supporting leaders.
  7.  Foresight—Their intuitive minds allow supporting leaders to use and apply past lessons and present realities to foresee the outcome of current situations and decisions.
  8.  Stewardship—Stewardship demands a commitment to serving others. Supporting leaders prefer persuasion over control to ensure that they gain the trust of others in the organization.
  9.  Commitment to the growth of others—Servant leaders have a deep commitment to the growth of people within their organization. They take on the responsibility of nurturing the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of others (e.g., providing access to resources for personal and professional development, encouraging workers to participate in decision making).
  10.  Building community—Supporting leaders are interested in building communities within a working environment, particularly given the shift in societies away from smaller communities to large institutions shaping and controlling human lives.

Scrum believes that all leaders of Scrum projects (including the Scrum Master and Product Owner) should be supporting-leaders who have the above traits.

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