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Can Self-Managed Teams Transform Your Business?

As open-plan offices and cloud-based applications take over the business world, collaboration is becoming the norm. Self-managed teams fit well in this environment, especially if your business is struggling to handle oversight and administrative tasks.

What is a Self-Managed Team?

Business Dictionary defines a self-managed team as a “self-organized, semiautonomous small group of employees” who determine and manage many of their own activities with little or no outside supervision. Also called self-directed teams, these groups are “responsible and accountable” for their roles in working toward the goals of the business as a whole.  By handling a combination of technical and management tasks, self-directed teams create a smoother workflow for daily operations. Their collective efforts support the organization by handling specific projects or jobs, working to resolve internal conflicts and covering gaps caused by holidays or absences.

How Do Self-Managed Teams Benefit Your Business?

Allowing employees to handle some of their own tasks can make your business 15 to 20 percent more productive. Why? Because people who are given ownership of what they do and who are accountable to themselves instead of a supervisor feel more invested in their jobs. They’re more likely to put their all into achieving the best outcomes, and this has the effect of reducing errors and lowering costs. Assigning employees with skill sets well-suited to each team’s specific jobs ensures groups have the insight and experience necessary for success. Flexibility within teams allows all members to perform to their full abilities, giving them greater satisfaction in their positions.

What Are the Drawbacks?

The self-managed model doesn’t work for all business types. Those requiring strict adherence to employee roles or in which deadlines are always tight may actually be hindered by this approach. Groups take longer to make decisions, which can delay the completion of projects, especially if additional meetings are required to reach a consensus. Many employees already dislike meetings, and constant interruptions from their jobs make it difficult to concentrate and can reduce overall efficiency.
It’s also possible for team members to become subject to the tendency to conform to the ideals and attitudes of the team as a whole instead of being bold when necessary or taking creative approaches to solving problems. The resulting stagnation undermines business growth if it’s not addressed by someone higher up in the organization.

Implementing a Self-Management Strategy

Building effective self-managed teams requires:
Choosing team members with strong skill sets
Ensuring each team has at least one person with leadership abilities
Good decision makers in all teams
Experienced employees to train and prepare others for self-management
Identify people within your organization who have these abilities, and create groups with complementary skill sets to build effective self-managed teams.
A self-managed model can be a welcome change in the structure of your business and improve daily operations by allowing employees to fully exercise their unique skills. If your company could benefit from a more focused and collaborative approach to daily tasks, consider experimenting with self-managed teams.

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Categories: Small Business Tips

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