Navigating Self-Managed Teams

So what does the day-to-day look like? Who makes decisions? How will we complete our projects? Basically: who is in charge? We focus on 3 components:

  • Commitments & Accountability

  • Leadership

  • Clear purpose and goals

Commitments & Accountability are the driving force behind self-managing teams. Commitments made between team members propel the work forward, as opposed to assignments being handed down from management. Members recognize their individual responsibility, as well as their collective responsibility as a team. And that sense of accountability becomes evident in the commitments they make.

It might seem counterintuitive at first for leadership to exist in self-managing teams, but a team leader, or Lead Link as we call them, is instrumental. The role of a team leader isn’t that of a conventional manager. Rather than calling all the shots, their role is in service to the entire team. They may provide mentoring, facilitate building relationships and remind the team to stay aligned on their common goal. As such, it’s normal for a team leader to be well-equipped with management skills, and to be familiar with project management, but ultimately, the decision-making doesn’t rest with them.

In order to build and participate in a successful self-managed team, there must also be clarity around your team’s purpose and goals. Clear direction becomes even more vital for success.

Because self-management facilitates greater agility, it’s much easier to implement new ideas, highlighting creative problem solving, diversity in perspectives, and greater responsiveness.

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