What is an Example of Scrum Master Servant Leader Behavior?

GoRetro Team
May 28, 2023
Posted on
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In the world of Agile and Scrum methodologies, the role of a Scrum Master is crucial for the success of a project. A Scrum Master is not just a project manager or a team leader; they are expected to embody the qualities of a servant leader. In this blog post, we will explore what servant leader behavior means, why it is important for the Scrum Master to embrace this mindset, and provide an example of how a Scrum Master can exhibit servant leader behavior within a Scrum team.

What is Servant Leader Behavior?

Servant leader behavior is a leadership style that emphasizes the needs of others before one's own. It is about serving the team, enabling their growth, and fostering a collaborative and supportive environment. A servant leader actively listens, empathizes, and encourages team members to take ownership of their work. They lead by example, demonstrating humility, integrity, and a genuine desire to help others succeed.

Why is it Important for the Scrum Master to be a Servant Leader?

The Scrum Master plays a critical role in facilitating the Scrum process and ensuring the team's success. By adopting a servant leader approach, the Scrum Master can create an environment that encourages self-organization, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Here are a few reasons why it is important for a Scrum Master to embrace the servant leader mindset:

Empowering the Team: A servant leader empowers team members to make decisions, take ownership of their work, and contribute their unique skills and perspectives. This helps create a sense of autonomy and ownership within the team, leading to higher engagement and productivity.

Fostering Collaboration: A servant leader promotes collaboration by breaking down silos and encouraging open communication. They facilitate effective collaboration between team members, stakeholders, and other teams, ensuring that everyone is aligned towards the project's goals.

Removing Obstacles: Servant leaders actively work to remove impediments and obstacles and provide support to the team. They act as a shield, protecting the team from external disruptions, and help resolve conflicts or bottlenecks that may hinder progress.

What is an Example of Scrum Master Servant Leader Behavior?

Let's imagine a Scrum team working on a complex software development project. During the sprint planning meeting, the team identifies a particularly challenging user story that requires specialized technical skills. One team member, John, expresses concern about his ability to tackle the task effectively.

As a servant leader, the Scrum Master recognizes the opportunity to support and empower John. Instead of dismissing his concerns or assigning the task to someone else, the Scrum Master takes the following steps:

  1. Active Listening: The Scrum Master listens attentively to John's concerns, allowing him to fully express his worries and doubts. By actively listening, the Scrum Master gains a deeper understanding of John's specific challenges and his areas of expertise.
  2. Collaboration and Guidance: The Scrum Master engages the entire team in a discussion. They encourage team members to share their experiences and offer suggestions to address the technical complexities of the user story. The Scrum Master facilitates a collaborative environment where team members can collectively find a solution.
  3. Support and Skill Development: Recognizing that John requires additional support, the Scrum Master arranges a knowledge-sharing session within the team. They identify a team member, Sarah, who has experience in the required technical area. Sarah agrees to pair up with John and provides guidance and mentorship throughout the task.
  4. Empowerment: The Scrum Master encourages John to take ownership of the user story, empowering him to make decisions and learn from the experience. They provide reassurance that the team is there to support him and that it's okay to seek help when needed.
  5. Ongoing Support: Throughout the sprint, the Scrum Master regularly checks in with John to monitor progress, offer assistance, and address any roadblocks. They create a safe space for John to ask questions, share concerns, and seek guidance. This ongoing support helps build trust and confidence within the team.

By demonstrating servant leader behavior, the Scrum Master not only addresses the immediate challenge but also fosters growth and development within the team. John feels supported and motivated to take on the task, knowing that he has the necessary resources and guidance. The team, as a whole, witnesses the Scrum Master's commitment to their success, reinforcing a culture of collaboration, learning, and continuous improvement.

In this example, the Scrum Master goes beyond traditional management roles by serving the team's needs, fostering collaboration, and enabling individual growth. By exhibiting servant leader behavior, they create an environment where team members feel valued, supported, and empowered to overcome challenges and achieve their best work.


A Scrum Master who embraces the qualities of a servant leader can have a profound impact on the success of a Scrum team. By focusing on the needs of the team and creating an environment of collaboration and support, they enable the team to thrive. Through active listening, empowering the team, fostering collaboration, and removing obstacles, the Scrum Master exemplifies servant leader behavior. By embodying these qualities, the Scrum Master becomes a catalyst for the team's growth, engagement, and success.

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