When Using a Self-Managed Team, a Manager Should….

self-managed team

How a Manager Manages a Self-Managed Team.

There are many benefits a business enjoys by having a self-managed team. First of all, such teams can get things done without too much supervision. It is estimated that most leading corporations in the world have self-managed teams because they improve productivity and effectiveness. However, such teams must also get some leadership.

Some people might wonder why a team that is “self-managed” would need a manager. It sounds like a contradiction. But the important thing to remember is that even though the team is self-managed, it is usually with regard to specific project objectives. That is why a team manager is needed to help the team achieve its broader objectives.

This manager will be accountable for how the team performs since individual members only have a responsibility to fulfill very specific project objective. Otherwise, a self-managed team requires a special brand of leadership. So, what does it take to manage a self-managed team? Let’s have a look.

How a Manager Manages a Self-Managed Team.

  1. Allow Members to Retain Some Autonomy
    Since a self-managed team has many of the issues a manager would address already catered for, their work is a little different. For instance, this manager cannot delve too much into what individual team members are doing. In a way, this manager has to trust the self-managed team members to do what is necessary to complete the tasks assigned to them. Trying to micromanage the members would actually affect the performance of the team.
  2. Sharing Broader Team Goals with Members
    With a self-managed team, it is very important to have some congruence regarding the standards to be achieved given the sort of work to be performed by various team members. Therefore, the manager has to sit with the team members and discuss issues like project targets, project objectives and the roles each team members will be accountable for in order to make the project a success.
  3. Ensuring Team Goals Match Organization Goals team versus organizational goals A manager of a self-managed team should focus on ensuring that the team objectives are well-aligned to those of the organization. This requires a number of unique skills. For instance, this leader needs to have empowerment skills with which to motivate the team to achieve outcomes that the broader organization would expect of such a team. So, it is still the team manager’s responsibility to monitor and appraise individual performance to ensure it matches what is expected of the team. After that, the team leader also has to monitor the team’s performance as a unit.
  4. Delegating and Sharing Responsibility
    The manager of a self-managed team also needs to learn how to share responsibility. Unlike in regular teams, the leader does not assume the leadership burden in its entirety. In this scenario, some managerial roles are delegated to the team members, and there are many benefits to doing this. The manager can focus on the bigger leadership responsibilities that only they can perform. Additionally, in a highly complex project with many moving parts, having someone else oversee some of these important roles can make the project more of a success.
  5. Maintaining Communication with the Organization
    Ultimately, the manager of a self-managed team has the important responsibility of ensuring that what the team is doing fits in with the objectives of the organization. Consequently, this leader needs to ensure that there is open communication between the team and the rest of the organization. Ultimately, the organization can only understand what the team is doing through its manager.
  6. Ensuring Motivation
    In most cases, self-managed teams are also pretty self-motivated. Therefore, the leader might not have the traditional role of motivating the team members. Still, this leader has to ensure that conditions exist for a high level of motivation within the team, even though they might not be directly responsible for each member’s motivation. So, anything that might ruin a team members morale has to be handled by the team leader if it is beyond that team member’s control.
  7. Being a Coach and an Advisor
    Rather than offer direction with little explanation on the broader project goal a member is supposed to achieve, a manager to a self-managed team should offer all the necessary support to the team in form of advice and coaching. This leader has to assume a somewhat consultancy role since the team is made of autonomous individuals who ultimately have to self-manage themselves.

To Sum Up:

Go through these principles and ensure that you are implementing them on a daily basis:

1.Allow Members to Retain Some Autonomy
2.Sharing Broader Team Goals with Members
3.Ensuring Team Goals Match Organization Goals
4. Delegating and Sharing Responsibility
5.Maintaining Communication with the Organization
6.Ensuring Motivation
7.Being a Coach and an Advisor


Managing a self-managed team is very different from directing a regular team. Team members in such teams have a greater level of autonomy, and it is important that the leader does not interfere with this even as they lead the team towards achieving the intended goal. Above are ways in which a leader directs a self-managed team.