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The Disempowerment of Scrum Masters : It Has To Be Stopped
Refusing to recognize Scrum Masters as managers can be a sure-fire way to kill Agile and Scrum
A common theme among Scrum Masters is feeling disempowered and unsupported by management. Despite being an integral part of introducing agility, Scrum Masters often feel like they are just another worker in the team, with management failing to take their ideas seriously or provide support when trying to make changes outside of the team.
The Agile community is partially to blame for this problem. By rejecting the idea that Scrum Masters are managers, we have limited their ability to make positive changes outside of their team, causing them to be disempowered and undervalued in the organization. They believe that it contradicts the principles of Agile and may lead to a return to traditional command-and-control management practices.
Bad management is bad management, regardless of the title someone holds. Good management practices are essential for Agile teams to succeed. A good manager knows how to delegate authority and empower their team, taking a servant-leader stance that helps the team succeed. By promoting good management practices, we can empower teams and Scrum Masters alike and work towards success.
I totally disagree with the arguments of "but Scrum Masters don't manage people," "command-and-control," and the like. One does not need to be a dick to be a manager. Thousands of fantastic leaders don't exhibit those bad traits in managerial positions. If you are one of those, I am sorry that you worked for a dick but don't tarnish all managers with that brush.
However, by framing the Scrum Master role as a managerial position, we can help businesses understand the importance and authority of the role. It is about using a language business people understand. It allows the SM to be in a position of influence that can work as a peer in the management structure, not as a worker. This enables Scrum Masters to lead by example as servant-leaders, empowering and supporting their teams towards success. We must embrace the role of Scrum Masters as Agile leaders and break down the barriers that are preventing them from succeeding.
It's important to note that recognizing Scrum Masters as managers doesn't mean that we should revert to traditional command-and-control management. Agile management is about empowering and supporting Scrum Masters, giving them the tools they need to lead their teams towards success.
[WARNING: I wrote this deliberately with words that will ruffle feathers]
In conclusion, it's time for the Agile community to recognize the importance of Scrum Masters as managers and embrace their role as Agile leaders. By giving them the support and authority they need to effectively manage their teams, we can create a more supportive and empowering environment for Agile success. Let's break down the barriers that are holding Scrum Masters back and empower them to manage.
[Take a deep breath and count to five. No! Not manage people, not command-and-control, manage Scrum and manage change through servant-leadership in a managerial position!]
We need to focus on empowering Scrum Masters to affect change. We must use language and terminology that business understands, especially in companies with low Agile understanding.
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