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Building Self-Managed Teams in Your Organization

by Lapmonk Editorial
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This Post has been sponsored by MOSANIY ENTERPRISES (https://mosaniy.com/)

In his book Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux asserts that future organizations will share three essential characteristics: Their people bring their entire selves to work, are purpose-driven, and self-manage their teams. This third characteristic, self-management, can be the most difficult to apply but can provide the most significant outcomes.

What Is A Self-Managed Team?

When a person is self-managed, they have complete autonomy and control over their activities, procedures, and outcomes.

A self-managed team in the workplace is a group of individuals that collaborate to finish a project or achieve a predetermined objective with minimal or no direct supervision from a manager.

Many of your organization’s employees presumably engage in some degree of self-management. For instance, seasoned personnel are relied upon to complete their tasks accurately and on time without being micromanaged. However, even they regularly report back to a team leader or supervisor for direction.

How Does A Self-Managed Team Operate?

Self-managed teams have grown in favor over time, since they excel in today’s collaborative, creative, and hybrid workplaces. As businesses downsize and reduce the need for managers and supervisors, they may be forced to adopt self-managed teams.

Since these teams lack a manager, the employees within them assume complete responsibility for their work and operations. The team is accountable for responsibilities that are generally delegated to managers, such as performance reviews, operational procedures, and contributions to the company’s broad picture.

Typically, self-managed teams are smaller in size, and each position is well defined. They work together to fulfill their common tasks and overcome obstacles in order to get their desired output or result.

These teams adopt a more ad hoc approach to meetings, as opposed to scheduled daily stand-up calls or weekly project discussions. Given the need for leadership in these meetings, teams will appoint a facilitator to guide the discussion. However, the facilitator may vary from meeting to meeting.

Typically, self-managed teams have unlimited paid time off policies. Employees are trusted to take leave only when their workload and team can handle it and not to abuse the policy, which is consistent with their self-governing philosophy.

Why Your Organization Should Create Self-Managed Teams

The transition from traditional hierarchical management to self-managed teams is not a straightforward undertaking. It demands resources and time, as well as employee and leadership buy-in. But when formed properly, these teams can stimulate innovation, strengthen company-wide ties, and accelerate your organization’s progress toward its goals. Self-managed teams can help you accomplish any of the following goals:

1. Employees Will Acquire New Abilities

Working in a self-managed team gives employees the opportunity to develop underutilized abilities. For instance, as students are collaborating to plan and execute a variety of activities, kids have the chance to develop their problem-solving, communication, and organizing abilities.

2. Employees May Attempt New Roles

In certain self-managed teams, individuals have the flexibility to rotate between roles in order to learn from their coworkers and acquire totally new skill sets.

Employees desire to continue learning and growing; when their position or growth becomes stagnant, they may begin seeking elsewhere for employment. Rather, joining a self-managed team provides a safe setting for experiential learning and skill-sharing, where employees can safely explore a new role within the organization and get ideas from their colleagues.

3. Employees Will Acquire Leadership Capabilities

Self-managed teams provide employees with the unique opportunity to exercise and enhance their leadership skills. Working in these smaller self-managed teams levels the playing field and gives everyone the opportunity to lead, advise, or contribute in innovative ways, whereas many employees may not have this opportunity in their typical function.

4. Employees Become Experts

Not every employee desires to climb the corporate ladder and become a manager or leader. Self-managed teams provide the ideal setting for those who wish to become experts in their role or master a particular talent.

Because the teams are smaller, each individual is more involved than in a conventional team structure. They take full responsibility for their position and get a greater grasp of the work, process, and final product of their peers.

5. Determination is enhanced

Diverse perspectives and experiences enhance self-managed teams by fostering innovation and resulting in a more well-rounded decision-making process. Team members are also encouraged to make decisions without the group’s consensus, so long as they’ve contacted an expert and those directly affected.

6. Employee motivation increases

Simply feeling like you’re part of a team can increase your motivation, and that motivation increases when you’re working for a common objective.

In self-managed teams, each member is allocated defined responsibilities. Since they are individually accountable, they are more motivated to produce their best work and ensure the success of the team as a whole.

In comparison, an employee on a traditional team may not feel as much drive or obligation because they are not as directly collaborating with or linked to their team members.

7. Employee engagement increases

Employees are typically recruited to be a part of a self-managed team because they possess self-management attributes, possess the necessary abilities, and the project or outcome corresponds with their interests or area of expertise.

Any person who was selected to join a team based on these attributes would feel more confident and empowered to perform their best work. In addition, connecting an employee with a project that matches with their hobbies or expertise will naturally enhance their engagement, because the task is already inside their area of expertise.

8. It is more effective

In a typical team setting, the organization’s objective is communicated to a manager, who then communicates it to their team and prescribes how the team should function to achieve the objective.

In these situations, the success of the team can be harmed if the management does not provide sufficient knowledge or autonomy to their employees. The importance of the “why” behind the task can decrease if it is not effectively communicated, which can demotivate the team.

In contrast, members of a self-managed team know how to best utilize their time, skills, and resources to collaborate and achieve the goal without a middleman. Since employees receive the information straight from leadership, the purpose and “why” of their work is also much apparent.

These teams also require less supervision, allowing the would-be manager or supervisor to focus on a different project or area.

9. It is more economical

Since self-managed teams are more effective and productive, they save time and money for their organization. Organizations can reallocate the expenditures saved on the hiring, training, and retention of a supervisor or manager to other aspects of their organization.

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