How does a Scrum Master build trust with a team: Part II – Mistakes that  destroy trust

We continue to look at how a Scrum Master might build trust in a team. Today we’re going to talk about the mistakes that destroy trust.

💔 Mistake #1. Hidden agendas

At the start, the Scrum Master is given hidden tasks from the management: to monitor the effectiveness of team members, record conversations, manage conflicts and “toxic” people. The focus of the Scrum Master shifts from “serving” the team to being the “ears” of the management.

💊 Antidote 

Discuss your tasks with the management and be open if they differ from the Scrum Master position’s expectations. Be honest with the team. Openly plan actions and explain the purpose to the team members.

💔 Mistake #2. The Scrum Master is hired by the manager, not the team

The Scrum Master does not see the team before starting work in the company and communicates only with the management during the hiring process. It’s difficult to build trust blindly. When joining the team, the Scrum Master will “serve” the manager who hired them, not the team. The team will shift responsibility for any problem to the management since they made the hiring decision. However, the management cannot build trust for you.

💊 Antidote 

If you are joining a new place or team, ask to meet and spend a day or two with the team beforehand. Give the team a chance to get to know you before making a final decision.

💔 Mistake #3. Sympathy != Trust

Another mistake that new Scrum Masters often make is confusing trust with sympathy. The Scrum Master tries to please colleagues on the team and substitutes sympathy for trust.

💊 Antidote 

Discuss trust with the team. What is the value of trust in teamwork? Be consistent. Remember, trust is always a two-way game; there can be no one-sided game.

What else would you include in this list of Scrum Master mistakes?

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