Servant leadership in Agile

The phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

Servant leader

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Servant leadership in Agile

  • In Agile, Project Manager is a servant leader
  • Servant leader responsibilities in the agile environment
    • Educate stakeholders around about the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of Agile
    • Explain the benefits of business value;
      • Improved quality
      • Productivity
      • Prioritization
    • Support the team through mentoring, appreciation & support
    • Lead teams by standing behind them
    • Nurture and grow the team
    • Help the team with technical project management activities
    • Celebrate team successes