Self-managed teams perform a wide range of activities and have responsibilities like those of traditional working groups where the leader of the group oversees such things as organizational structure and staff performance.
Manager-led teams can range from semi-autonomous working groups to teams that become increasingly more autonomous through the power they exert over an organization’s systems and processes.
Self-Directed teams are groups of employees who have day-to-day responsibilities for managing themselves and the work they do. Participants of self-directed teams typically complete job assignments, plan and schedule duties, make production-related decisions, and solve problems. Employees who work in self-directed teams have little direct supervision but are largely viewed as employees who are highly productive and require little in the way of daily oversight.
Self-managed teams often set their own work hours, delegate work responsibilities, coordinate work schedules, determine their training needs, deal directly with external stakeholders, create their own budgets, and terminate team members as needed.
Self-Managed Team Research
Although little in the way of research has been conducted into the relative effectiveness of various team types, one study out of Canada, conducted during the pandemic in 2020, revealed that employees working in self-managed teams reported higher productivity rates and scored higher than average for having positive attitudes about their jobs. According to legendary business educator, Peter Drucker, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” If Drucker was right and poor management is the biggest impediment to effectiveness in the workplace, perhaps it is easy to understand why self-managed teams are leading the way when it comes to productivity and positivity.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada