Servant leadership is a concept and practice of leadership that was originated by Robert K Greenleaf while supported by other management and leadership writers. Greenleaf defined servant leadership as a philosophy of management in organizations that gives a comprehensive view of the quality of people, work and community spirit. Servant leaders are those who serve as humble stewards of their companies and work giving priority attention to the needs of their colleagues, team, customers and others for whom they serve.
Agile Servant Leadership:
Servant leadership is valuable for all projects irrespective of it being agile or not, however it is nearly indispensable in agile. This is because agile believes in self-managing teams, which needs help in forming, building and nurturing the agile team for successful process of agile projects. The concept of servant leadership moves very well with the style of management that is encouraged within an agile team. Agile servant leadership positions the leader of the agile team as the enabler. An agile servant leader is the one who helps the team, removes obstacles that the team faces, gives them the tools and skills they need and protects them from unnecessary disturbances throughout agile team project work.
Characteristics of Agile Servant Leaders:
- Listener: An agile servant leader needs to be a good listener in order to serve as the enabler of the agile team. The servant leader needs to listen to the team members and understand their requirements for the efficient work and flow process of a project.
- Empathizer: An agile servant leader needs to be an empathizer to understand the issues and thoughts of the team members. Every team member might not bring up the issues by own self and therefore, an agile servant leader needs to get inside their shoes and understand the issues.
- Healer: There can be different phases of a project including iteration failures, conflicts among agile team members and other issues. An agile servant leader needs to work as a healer in such situations helping the agile team members to come out of the traumatic situations.
- Vigilant: A servant leader in agile should be both aware of oneself as well as the agile team’s predicaments.
- Persuader: A servant leader should be a good persuader who is capable of persuading agile team members to consider other points of view and encouraging them to voice their issues and helping other team members.
- Conceptualizer: An agile servant leader should be able to paraphrase and break down issues within a team into parts and deal with them.
- Foresighted: The ability to paraphrase and break down issues even before they arise is an essential characteristic of an agile servant leader.
- Stewards: Like a good steward, an agile servant leader should be able to steer the ship, assist the team members and make them comfortable throughout the project work.
- Committed: An agile servant leader should be committed to the growth of the team members towards effective work flow and successful project delivery. The team members will be more forthcoming and comfortable if they are confident that their leader is genuinely interested in helping them grow.
- Community builder: Being a community leader means that a servant leader must nurture other servant leaders as well. The only way one can scale any good thing is by developing successors. Therefore, an agile servant leader should be a community builder.
Thus, agile leaders need to practice the skills – especially deep listening, self-awareness and deep commitment to help others. The agile leaders need to fashion themselves as servant leaders, who are willing to go to the distance in trying to help the team achieve its goals. Such leaders will adapt their behavior in order to meet the needs of the team. Values that will be cherished in such a team would be trust, empathy, collaboration and ethical use of power. To know more about agile leadership and agile best practices, you can join Simplilearn’s PMI-ACP agile online certification training. You may also attend agile certification classroom training in order to enhance your PMI-ACP exam prep towards attaining an agile certification. Know the dates of upcoming agile certification training in your city.