Friday, February 24, 2017

Servant Leadership

I don't talk a lot about my career on this blog and I don't intend to. I keep my work and my personal lives separate. I did, however, accomplish something this week that I am excited about. I took two days off this week to attend a Certified ScrumMaster training class. After two very full days of training, you can then take the test, which I took and passed. I haven't done any professional development in a long time. I'm still burnt out from spending most of my 20s doing all the extra things to enhance my resume. I have wanted to get my CSM for several years, so I'm excited because I finally, actually did it. It's not a hard test by any means, and with only two days of training, it's not a huge sacrifice like some other certifications. I didn't spend hours studying - I went home and took the test as soon as I was able. I am excited because I've been talking about doing it for so long and I finally followed through.

So what exactly is a Scrum Master? I can answer this in any number of ways and googling it will get you numerous answers. It means I've studied the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum framework and how they help teams accomplish goals. It's most often used for software development, but really it can be used for anything you need to get done. A Scrum Master helps you follow the framework correctly. Simply put, a Scrum Master is a coach. Scrum and Agile value the concept of servant leadership, and it's very much reflected in this role. As a Scrum Master, you help people accomplish what they need to do, without doing it for them.

The concept of servant leadership isn't anything new. It's a quality that we admire in our business, government, and spiritual leaders. Most of us were probably raised with this concept; we see it early on in the bible (teach a man to fish, etc) and we see it from our educators and coaches. This is just a new title for an old and familiar role. I look at it as a framework for the type of leader I strive to be. I naturally have a take charge, let me do this for you kind of attitude that I have to work against. While some employers and co-workers appreciate this, it doesn't accomplish anything in the long run. I don't want to depend on fear and perceived authority to get the job done. I truly believe people accomplish more when they work as a team with people who appreciate them. When you enable someone to do something that they aren't confident they can do - that's an amazing feeling, for the both of you. I want to help people help themselves - this is one way I can do it at work, whether I'm in the Scrum Master role or not.

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