Going through Scrum Master training gave me one of the greatest leadership tools I’ve ever received, one that I use on a daily basis within my role as a Product Manager, but also as a leader in my organisation and in the wider community. It’s a mindset that’s called “Servant Leadership” and something that I think a lot of people who are in leadership positions use on a daily basis naturally without knowing there’s a name for the way they lead.

Definition of Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership is a philosophy that focuses the leader on being a servant first and a contributor to the wider community and its welfare. A servant leader identifies what their people need and what problems need to be solved and focuses on supporting and improving the environment in which their people work, which systematically improves motivation and promotes unity both within the person and within the wider team. 

Scrum Masters, by default, are trained and operate as servant leaders. Their entire function within the team is to increase productivity, remove blockers, and promote positive and efficient ways of working, and not only have to work alongside team members to improve the team’s welfare, but also have to manage upwards to give leadership members the tools and guidance they need to be good servant leaders themselves.

Positive Effect on the Team

A team that is surrounded by servant leaders, leaders who focus on the team’s well-being and health (mental, physical, teamwork, positivity, efficiency), is a team who feels empowered to make creative and positive decisions. It’s a team whose output is increased exponentially, and it’s a team who upholds its organisation’s values and ultimately supports the organisation’s goals.

How to Become a Servant Leader?

Servant Leadership requires a shift in thinking away from assuming power comes from a title and instead seeing the title as a way to empower and protect those lower on the totem pole from negative influences that affect the team’s well-being. Ego plays no part in a servant leader, and instead requires an alignment to a powerful sense of “what is right and what is wrong” and aligning to a sense of “moral authority”. As Stephen Covey puts it “Moral authority comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect”.

Ultimately a servant leader has to trust their team and the team has to trust their servant leader, because their goals and priorities are aligned, and they are all headed in the same direction together. The servant leader’s responsibility is to use their considerable authority and power to shift flotsam out of the way of the boat, not to tell their team to row harder. The servant leader trusts their team will row as hard as they can, as long as the team can trust the servant leader to clear the path in front of them.

How Does Nexor Support and Promote Servant Leadership?

At Nexor, we recently rolled out a new set of values:

Catalist logo with meanings

Adaptability – Our Engineering team has worked hard and has made a lot of progress towards agile product development and have adopted a servant leadership mindset in our trust of one another and our drive to promote positive and efficient ways of working.

Listening – we’ve built a very successful and smart group of people who not only can listen and work with our customers to achieve a shared goal, but also can work with the market to achieve wider more long-term goals.

Accountability – We strongly believe in holding ourselves accountable for the work we do and stand by our principles to the point that we have a Nexor Guarantee where we promise customers that if they follow our process, implement our guidance, their information exchange solution will meet your governance and accreditation requirements.

Service – At Nexor we are always looking for the best way to support our customers, that is another reason for the introduction of the Nexor Guarantee. This allows us to fully understand the customer’s needs and creates a solution that meets their needs.  If they disagree with how things are progressing, we can use an agile methodology that provides time to review and reform.

We’re an organisation that is constantly growing and evolving, and we have loads of smart people who support one another and understand honesty, integrity, and treating people with respect, and we stand by those values both internally and externally with our customers and partners.

Our servant leadership mentality is just one of many ways we ensure that everyone’s voice is valued. We are a small company yet have been a catalyst in the high assurance market for many years now. This has all come about by our understanding that the powerhouse of an organisation is the people within and in supporting them to be their best selves we have built strong, dedicated and an innovative workforce.

 

 

Author Bio - Natalie Wilding

Natalie WildingNatalie Wilding is Nexor’s Product Manager. She brings a wealth of experience through different industries to Nexor, including her passion for Agile development, which she has gained through her previous roles as an Agile Scrum Master and Agile Product Owner.

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