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The Path to Servant Leadership

Presenter Name: Tom Looy

Duration: 60 Minutes

Audience Level: Experienced

Session Style: Workshop


As leaders grow and emerge within organizations the will inevitably come to a decision point on which model of leadership they will choose. One of those models they may choose is Servant Leadership. The likelihood of them choosing Servant Leadership is based on two factors: the depth of the leader’s value system and the alignment of their organization to a compelling mission statement. The purpose of this workshop is to present this hypothesis, backed up with referenced materials, and solicit experiences from the attendees on their experiences emerging as Servant Leaders. We will also explore how a lack of a compelling mission statement often results in the lack of Servant Leaders within their organizations.

(For additional details on this proposal, please see the Agile 2012 proposal website: http://submit2012.agilealliance.org/node/13430)

Session Leader Background:

Tom Looy is an Agile coach and trainer with BigVisible Solutions focusing primary on long-term (3 to 6 months) embedded Agile coaching. Tom is also is an international speaker at Agile conferences in the US, South America and Europe.

Tom has over 20 years of experience in software development including over 10 years in the Agile community. As an Agile coach, Tom has worked with organizations ranging in size from startups to Fortune 50 companies.

Tom combines his strengths as a teacher and coach with his in-depth understanding of Agile methods, Lean concepts, Theory of Constraints, Servant-Leadership and Systems Thinking to bring a constant focus on increasing throughput of business value and creating learning organizations.

Session History:

This is a new session. I will be presenting this session in the spring in the Agile Coaching Circle and the Silicon Valley ALN prior to presenting at SF Agile 2012.

Questions Answered:

- If, according to Warren Bennis in On Becoming a Leader, leaders are made and not born, is the same true for Servant Leaders?

- What are the factors that go into a leader's decision to choose the Servant Leader model as apposed to other models.

- At what point in the maturing of a leader is the decision to become a Servant Leader made?

- How can we create environments where Servant Leaders can emerge?


Submitted by

Session Leader Name(s): Tom Looy

Stage: Accepted

Feedback Score

20 votes

Idea Details

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Similar Ideas [ 3 ]


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  1. Comment

    At some point, the organizations of mankind have taken a wrong turn. The resulting waste has consumed the planet and many people's souls. In 2012 when is there a better time to shine the light on what makes people great and what will get us out of this mess?

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      tlooy24 ( Idea Submitter )

      Hi Dennis - you make a good point. Many companies have made a wrong turn and that has a tremendous affect on a leader's decision to choose Servant Leadership as a model. But often Servant Leaders do emerge within these organizations. Why is that? I believe that it's there value system that runs deeper than the culture of an organization that has them choose Servant Leadership.

      Not all is lost...

  2. Comment

    Tom - I look forward to seeing you present this at the conference. Hope all is well!

  3. Comment

    I don't think we've even scratched the surface on true Servant Leadership in the ScrumMaster community. I hope this will bring a depth to the topic and be an "a ha" moment for existing and future SM's in the crowd.

    Good stuff

  4. Comment

    Pretty deep first comment up there! I agree that this is a topic worth delving deeper into. Seems all the latest Mgt 101 booksa re talking about it too. I wonder what is going to happen to all the introvert power hungry high-conflict managers out there if they have to be servant leaders now?

  5. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    Servant Leadership is a concept that is hard for most to grasp the essence. Normally one tends to lean towards either the servant-ship or to the leadership side. It takes an Agile practitioner with finesse to differentiate when to serve and when to lead. A good servant leader goes beyond knowing the Agile rituals, artifacts, and roles.

  6. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    This is a topic that is close to my heart and I would like to see how it develops.

    Many management books and speakers target an audience of whom leadership of some degree is expected (managers, tech leads etc), I would like to see how a session like this migh disrupt the trend and target the rank and file of teams and help *everyone* be better servant leaders.

    How do you think your talk might change to help the non-leadership track folk?

  7. Comment

    Interesting topic. Servant leadership is often batted around as a buzzword with little meaning or traction within organizations. I would be more drawn to this session if it goes beyond exploring a hypothesis and moves towards the implications and counter measures for leaders, teams and organizations.

  8. Comment

    I've worked with Tom Looy for a number of years. This is not theory: he lives this stuff. It was directly from Tom that I learned the power of authentic conversations (which is an essential practice in being a true Servant Leader).

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