[Scrum master] a servant-leader or just a leader?

According to The Scrum Guide™, “The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team”[1]. There are many articles on the servant meaning in the Scrum Master role. In theory leader does not have to be servant. Traditional leader is not servant [2]. The purpose here is to take a short look on these leader-related terms and realize how they are tend to be understood on a daily basis. Today the meaning of a leader goes towards the servant role. There is a common understanding of being to serve others rather than giving commands. It is not addressed only to Scrum Masters, this role is only an example.

Let’s have a look on some publications that show todays meanings of a leader and a boss.

In the 5 Leadership Lessons I Learned Working For Mayor Bloomberg article there is a statement “He cared about the people he would serve” [3]. The 7 Characteristics That Separate A Boss From A Leader text says: “While a leader can be a boss, not every boss is a leader.” [4] and Why You Should Stop Being a Boss and Start Being a Leader says: “boss thinks in terms of him or herself; a leader thinks in terms of we. “ [5].

Illustrated distinctions between a leader and a boss [6] and here [7]:

All the mentioned publications understand a leader as a servant one.


A boss is seen as a traditional leader who manages and does not participate in work. A servant-leader is a person who cares for other people and work together with people in order to achieve a goal. The servant word is in many cases an assumption when considering a leader role. We expect a leader to be servant and therefore we would like to have a servant-leader every time we call someone a leader. Scrum Master is for sure a servant-leader. The Scrum Guide™ [1] describes this role with service expectations.


[1] http://www.scrumguides.org/docs/scrumguide/v1/scrum-guide-us.pdf
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership
[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2015/07/15/5-leadership-lessons-i-learned-working-for-mayor-bloomberg/
[4] http://elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/things-distinguishes-leader-boss/
[5] http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/the-choice-is-yours-boss-or-leader-pick-one.html
[6] http://9gag.com/gag/a0Lm5pQ/the-difference-between-a-boss-and-a-leader
[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whoEKUSCeQ8

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