No matter what you might think of Scrum, the Scrum Guide beautifully describes three aspects of leadership in the context of agile product development. At the center of value creation is the development team, which works autonomously and self-organizing. As the “CEO” of the product, the Product Owner leads the product and thus gives the autonomy a common vision and direction. And finally there is the Scrum Master, who serves the people and helps the product owner, the development team and the rest of the organization to work together effectively. A traditional manager is not described there, because his different tasks are distributed among these roles.
Originally, court jesters were not entertainers or jokers, but serious characters. They had an important task and were an integral part of the court. Their foolishness, however, relieved them of the social norms and allowed them to express grievances and (religious) misconduct in a more or less subtle and humorous way, thus inspiring the authorities to reflect and rethink. Because of this “fool’s freedom” they were a social institution of permissible criticism. The separation of powers in agile organizations means in the last consequence also a renaissance of this venerable social institution of the court jester in person of the Scrum Master.
In most hierarchical organizations the spirit of absolutism still prevails. All power is with the boss. He or she manages and controls, imposes rules, monitors their compliance and punishes misconduct. Even today there are still enough small and big Sun Kings: L’état c’est moi! This is because people are still susceptible to excessive power on the one hand and on the other because the Enlightenment apparently had little influence on the design of modern organizations. The advance of knowledge work and the increasing striving for agility also lead to a new Enlightenment with a more pronounced separation of powers.