A few weekends ago, I conducted my first Management 3.0 #Workout class. Intentionally, it was a small group that I hoped would be open to the concept. The class went well, and I got some great feedback. Management is one of the few roles that there doesn’t seem to be a formal certification or process that signifies one know’s what to do. A management degree (MBA or Bachelors) can teach the basic skills of marketing, accounting, and operations, but doesn’t teach you the skills that you truly need. Skills such as servant leadership, communication skills, problem solving, and dealing with conflict.
I had a few moments the other day, and I started thinking about what attributes were possessed by some of the great managers I have worked for in the past.
One of the questions that I created for Pocket Prof revolved around the concept that “Scrum Master” is a management role. The correct answer for the certification is True. I have yet to see this as a requirement in a management job description though. What would happen if were to become a requirement? I think most of the managers I know would put up fight on this one. Heck, I would put up a fight before I understood what the attributes of being a Scrum Master.
I went back to the beLithe Scrum training deck and took at look at the attributes of a Scrum Master. All the attributes would be ones I would consider important for managers to possess as well as Scrum Masters.
Let’s take a look at the attributes and consider whether they apply to a management role.
Agile Expert – Expert may be too strong, but managers should be searching for tools, practices, and frameworks that can be introduced as required. Topics such as DevOps, Extreme Programming, Test Driven Development, and Automated testing are foundational concepts that should be known and explored by every manager. Being familiar with Scrum, Kansan, and Lean are important.
Servant Leadership – People who do the actually work are the ones who actually create value. Management’s responsibility is to create an environment where people can do the work. By adopting Servant Leadership, managers serve the people who do work by removing impediments and enabling them to do the work. The term manager should be replaced by Servant Leader. Terms such as manager or team lead have been damaged by overuse.
Communicator – Most of the challenges with teams and organization is a lack of communication. Managers should be effective communicators with their peers, customers, with their teammates, and with others in the organization. Manages that can’t communicate are ineffective, yet somehow continue to be managers.
Facilitator – For years, traditional managers would plan the work, assign the work, and then evaluate their direct reports. Recently, great managers have transitioned from hierarchical control to a facilitated self-organization approach. Self-organization requires trust. Managers have to trust their teams, and their teams have to trust their managers that the environment is safe.
Worthy of Trust – Being worthy of trust is the most important characteristic a manager can possess. If a team trusts that a manager’s intentions are honorable, the team will be tolerant of mistakes, and allow the manager time to learn. A manager without the trust of her team will never be a leader, but will be directing/dictating.
Coach – The primary job of the manager is to coach teams and individuals. As a coach, a manager has to understand what to do, why it needs to be done, and what the benefits and risks are. Combining coach with being an effective communicator allows management to change communication styles to ensure that each team receive.