Agile Servant Leadership: PMI-ACP Agile Certification

Agile servant leadership is a leadership approach first introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf in the 1970s that has its roots in two different areas - servant leadership and agile. The concept was born out of the belief that the role of a leader should be to serve and support the team, rather than to exert control or power over them. By combing the flexible and iterative approach of Agile with the supporting approach of servant leadership, a new leadership approach that is focused on serving and supporting the team in an agile environment was created. Agile servant leadership emphasizes the importance of serving and supporting team members. In this approach, the project manager’s primary focus is on helping the team achieve its goals and objectives by providing the necessary support, resources, and guidance.

The project manager fulfills the role of a facilitator that helps the team remove barriers hindering the progress of the project. An Agile servant leader is also responsible for fostering an environment of collaboration, trust, and transparency, and encouraging team members to take ownership of their work and make decisions. In this style of leadership, continuous learning and growth, and encouraging team members to continuously improve their skills and knowledge is given priority. Agile servant leader also focuses on empowering team members to be their best and to achieve success in a collaborative, agile environment. The agile leadership approach is well-suited for organizations with an agile culture which is that of continuous improvement, innovation, and agility.

What is the PMI-ACP Agile Certification?

The PMI-ACP exam does not specifically assess agile servant leadership skills, however, it includes questions that relate to the principles of agile, such as collaboration, adaptability, and continuous improvement, which are also the core principles of agile servant leadership. In order to prepare for the PMI-ACP exam, you should study the Agile Practice Guide, which is published by PMI and covers a range of topics related to agile servant leadership, including how to foster collaboration and transparency, how to build trust and empower team members, and also how to create an environment that supports continuous learning and improvement.

How to Become an Agile Servant Leader?

In order to become a successful agile servant leader, you are required to have a combination of skills, mindset, practice, and knowledge. You can become an agile servant leader by observing the following steps −

  • Learn about Agile − To start with you should become familiar with the Agile methodology and its principles by reading books, attending webinars, and also taking online courses to understand Agile values and practices.

  • Understand servant leadership − You should understand and learn the qualities of a servant leader and practice putting the needs of the team first, empowering them to do their best work, and helping them grow.

  • Develop your communication skills − As an Agile servant leader, you should practice effective communication and be open to listening to your team's needs, providing feedback, and facilitating collaboration.

  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement − Encourage your team to constantly improve their processes, skills, and knowledge. Provide opportunities for them to learn and grow, and support them in their efforts to experiment and innovate.

  • Lead by example − In order to enable an agile culture within your agile team, you yourself should be a role model for the team by exhibiting the behaviors and values that you want them to follow.

  • Be adaptable − As an aspiring agile servant leader, you need to be adaptable and responsive to change and be comfortable with ambiguity, and able to pivot quickly when necessary.

  • Embrace feedback − You should have an open mind to feedback and constructive criticism, especially from your team members which can be utilized by you to improve your leadership style and to identify areas where your team requires more support.

How to Know if Servant Leadership is the Right Leadership Style for You?

A few tips to help determine whether servant leadership is the right leadership style for you are as follows −

  • Assess your values − Servant leadership embodies values such as empathy, collaboration, and service. Assess whether these values are aligned with your personal values and whether you are willing to prioritize the needs of others over your own.

  • Evaluate your leadership goals − It is important for you to be aware of your personal goals as a leader. If your goals are to achieve personal success and recognition, servant leadership might not be the right fit for you. A servant leader prioritizes building strong relationships with team members and helping them to achieve their goals.

  • Reflect on your leadership strengths − Assess your strength to identify if it matches the skill requirements of a servant leader which are strong communication, listening, and empathy skills.

  • Observe other servant leaders − Observing other leaders who embody servant leadership will help you analyze yourself and also gain real-time insight into the requirements, expectations, and efforts required.

  • Try it out − If you are still unsure, implement some of the principles that are the most aligned with your personal morals along with focusing on building relationships with your team members, active listening, and prioritizing their growth and development which are the core values of agile servant leadership.


In conclusion, Agile servant leadership is a critical component of Agile project management, and the PMI-ACP certification provides you with the right knowledge and skills needed to excel as an agile servant leader. Agile servant leaders play a vital role in creating a work environment that supports collaboration, flexibility, and communication which are the main principles emphasized by the Agile methodology. These skills are critical for creating a culture of collaboration and communication within Agile teams, and for ensuring that the team is focused on achieving its goals.

Overall, the PMI-ACP certification is an essential qualification for professionals who seek to excel in Agile servant leadership as it provides a comprehensive understanding of the Agile methodology and the skills needed to lead Agile teams and implement Agile methodologies in their organizations. With the PMI-ACP certification, you as an Agile servant leader can create a work environment that fosters collaboration, communication, and innovation, leading to greater success for Agile projects.

Updated on: 21-Mar-2023


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