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What would be 3 great indicators of leadership potential in a team?

Leadership in Scrum Teams: Exploring the Meaning of a Leader and Identifying Potential Leaders

Throughout my journey in the Agile world, one question frequently emerges in our corridors and virtual meeting rooms: “What embodies a genuine leader within a Scrum team?” 🌟

Before delving deeper, it’s essential to make the clear distinction that a team doesn’t have leadership potential – people do.

With that in mind, I’ve identified three foundational pillars that signify leadership potential within a team.

Let’s take a closer look at each point:

1. Being Articulate

Always remember to be the voice of clarity. 🎙️

In the whirlwind of tasks and stories, priorities and backlogs, the voice of a true leader is akin to the North Star. It offers direction and clarity.

Leaders in Scrum environments have this unique ability not just to take time to understand but to communicate this understanding effectively. They’re adept at making the complex digestible.

Their articulation isn’t a mere exhibition of eloquence. It’s a strategic endeavour ensuring everyone’s alignment, breaking down ideas so they resonate unanimously.

It’s about shedding light on ambiguities, clarifying, and ensuring the entire team sees the broader vision.

2. The Art of Listening

The Scrum world is filled with myriad voices. From the passionate developer advocating for a particular approach to the product owner protective of the user stories, it’s a cacophony of perspectives.

Amidst this, the trait of a leader that truly stands out is listening. As I often emphasise – ‘Great leaders are listeners.’

Their leadership isn’t about dominating conversations or insisting on their perspectives. It’s about giving people an opportunity to explore a space.

The strength of a leader in this domain is understanding that it’s not about the leader being right; it’s about the team being right.

This democratic essence of leadership paves the way for inclusivity and diversity of thoughts. It leads to solutions that are not just effective but holistic.

3. Unyielding Passion with a Touch of Humility

Passion is the fuel that drives leaders. When leaders speak, you can almost feel their words. Their convictions are always strong, making others believe they demand the world listen to them. 🔥

But what magnifies this passion is their juxtaposed humility. It’s the perfect balancing act, where they’re equally passionate about their beliefs and humble in their approach.

They recognise and accept that leadership isn’t about having all the answers but allowing the team to develop its own solutions.

Their willingness to sometimes step back is what often propels the team forward.

Leadership is a Journey, Not a Destination

Leadership isn’t a stationary trait, especially in the fluid environment of Agile and Scrum. It’s evolutionary.

Every sprint, every retrospective, and every daily stand-up is an opportunity for potential leaders to emerge, evolve, and influence.

Leadership becomes an anchor in this dynamic world where change is the only constant.

If this narrative resonates, and you’re keen to embark on a deeper exploration of leadership in Agile environments, I invite you to connect through my Agile and Scrum courses.

Together, we can unravel the many layers of leadership and its influence on Scrum teams, enriching our collective journeys.

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

If you are inspired by the idea of an online apprenticeship for a scrum master, visit

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master and want to achieve internationally recognised and certified accreditation as a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master (CSP-SM) course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit or connect with John on LinkedIn at

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Keywords: David Marque, Stephen Bungay, Agile Leadership, Influential Thought Leaders

Hashtags: #AgileLeadership #ThoughtLeadership #AgileTransformation #ScrumMaster


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author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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