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Stop following your agenda and start being there for the team.
🧨 I’ve made many mistakes as a Scrum Master and still do new ones (yet different). But this was one of the biggest ones:
👂🏼Listening too much to my own agenda.
Here’s what happened:
I worked with one team and had a great idea of where I wanted to take them. On one of the retrospectives, I had a colleague, Scrum Master shadowing. We debriefed after the meeting, and he asked me a variation of: „Are you here for yourself or the team?”
💡This was one of those „aha” moments. Making this mistake taught me a ton, but one thing changed the trajectory:
I started listening more and taking it to the team more. Sharing my perspective on where I see we should go and why with theirs. I embraced serendipity.
During retrospectives, that meant I could change the meeting plan in a moment and take up what was important at that time for others – enabling the conversation instead of dictating it. Many years have passed since that revelation, and I see it as one of my big strengths today.
This also overlaps with the topic of self-trust. I still had an idea for the team and planned every retrospective towards the next conversation I saw we needed to have. The difference was I did not keep it in my head so often.
🎢 Should you always follow what the team wants? I don’t think so. That does not mean enforcing things. It means speaking out when people are trying to escape an important topic because it’s uncomfortable.
It also means showing and visualising data which can take various forms – quotes, numbers, behaviours, emotions, opinions etc. I noticed that, since some time now, I focus on fostering deep conversations and using metaphors rather than fancy retro templates.
The topic is not only about retros yet it’s most visible there. It happens in all situations where, instead of listening with curiosity, we feel we know what’s best.
🎉 Can you relate? What discoveries did you make recently or when starting as a Scrum Master or an Agile Coach?