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Why is Agile leadership a natural evolution for a Scrum master?    

Natural Evolution for a Scrum Master

When we talk about leadership and Scrum mastery, we often bring up the servant leader idea. Nowadays, it’s the Scrum Master who’s seen as the natural leader.

But why is this? What is the natural connection between Scrum Masters and Agile leadership?

What does it mean to be an Agile leader, and why do we often see the role of a Scrum Master naturally evolving into this position?

The connection might seem opaque initially, but dive a little deeper, and the association becomes clearer.

The Interconnection

Leadership and Scrum mastery are more similar than you may think.

Leadership is at its core about “having a vision and motivating people to follow you.”

In its most rudimentary sense, a leader is someone who creates a follower, and this is exactly what a Scrum Master needs to do.

It doesn’t matter if you’re “working with one new team or you’ve been practising this for years and you’re working across a whole organisation.”

A Scrum Master, by definition, needs to be a leader. 🏅

This means you need to excite and inspire people to follow you towards a better way of working.

The key responsibilities can be highlighted in the following areas:

1. Inspire and Excite: A Scrum Master needs to “excite people, inspire people to follow you towards a better way of working.” 👏

2. Lead by Example: Leadership isn’t about autocracy. It’s about guiding, showing the path, and then walking it together with the team.

3. Helping to Help Themselves: The best way a Scrum Master can lead is by “helping them to help themselves.” 🏋️‍♂️

4. Sympathetic Leadership: Modern leadership is about understanding and empathising with the team’s needs, and Scrum Masters often work in ways that are very much in sync with these principles.

5. Continuous Learning: As a Scrum Master, continuous learning and adaptation to new methods and strategies are part of the job description. It’s an iterative process, just like Agile itself. 📚🔄💼

6. Transparency: A significant part of Agile leadership fosters a culture of openness and trust, where all team members feel safe to voice their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

In essence, Scrum Masters are natural leaders because they have to embody the principles of Agile Leadership in their role, which includes empathy, continuous improvement, and leading by example.

As Scrum Masters, our role naturally calls us to inspire others, to guide them in helping themselves, and to practice leadership that is in tune with the demands of the modern world.

If you’re a Scrum Master aspiring to level up your Agile Leadership skills, consider joining one of my Agile and Scrum courses.

Let’s walk this path of transformation together. 🎓

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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