Servant Leadership in Action – Straight from Hell

One of the concepts that core to achieving agility is “Servant Leadership”.  There are many places that one can read about the concept, its precepts and how it can best be effectively practiced in the modern organization.


The purpose of this brief blog post is to simply highlight a recent example of “Servant Leadership” within our community.

Hell’s Kitchen Minneapolis ( is one of our favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities.  A few years ago, we hosted an event there during the Global Scrum Gathering. They are an employee-owned restaurant with an “edge” and represent the kind of irreverent culture that we recognize and celebrate at agilityIRL.

Like many restaurants they are currently struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.  However, beyond just a general “thank-you for your support” message, they are sharing these struggles and the decisions that they are making in response in a transparent way with their customers via regular email updates.   As example, consider the following snippet from an email that I received earlier this week:

Hells Kitchen Newsletter


Note the transparency embodied with this email,

As restaurants across the country fight for their lives, cash will be everything for survival. Thus, our hardest realization this week was that our cash flow no longer allows us to pay the $18,000/month health insurance premiums. As a fierce supporter of workers’ rights, it’s hard to believe we’re even having this discussion. We’ve asked our Employee Owners to hang in there through this incredibly painful time, and appreciate the heartfelt notes of support we’ve already received from understanding staffers.”

This clearly wasn’t an easy decision, but a key part of servant leadership is being realistic with the team that you serve about the situation that you are facing.

So check out Hell’s Kitchen Minneapolis when you have a chance and order some gift cards while you are there, they are a great example of Servant Leadership in action – straight from Hell!