“Be open, transparent, take more responsibilities: all beautiful words. But what happens if someone doesn’t perform as well as he or she should? Or if a team member goes against ‘the flow’? You can change the context, but this doesn’t automatically change someone’s behaviour.” Mark, Product Owner at a financial services provider.
Think of clever solutions. Fully understand customers. Invent new products. We are all challenged. To take more initiative, to show a greater level of ownership and mostly: to do more self-reflection. The solution? Working according to the ‘agile’ or ‘lean’ philosophy. Hot and happening: we don’t organise people in roles anymore, but we organise the work in tasks and roles and we then find the right people. Teams don’t have traditional leaders anymore, but Scrum Masters, Product Owners or Tribe Leaders. They follow the principle of ‘see-feel-change’: learn by doing, by trial and error, like young children do. Leadership in teams rotates, based on someone’s expertise.
More self-management but less self-knowledge
The more room for self-management, the less self-knowledge people often have. Knowing your own qualities and further develop them. Understanding team dynamics and group processes. Undersanding how people make decisions and how people learn with ánd from each other. These insights are important for success, but often miss. Professionals don’t fully use their organisational skills, although we do see attention for social technology within teams.
Failing should be more than ok
Team members decide how to share the work themselves, based on priorities, competencies and skills. But when you are in a room full of experts and perfectionists how do you decide whether or not a minimum viable product (MVP) is ‘finished’? That can be very difficult! Meetings, like daily stand-ups, are therefore necessary and require special conversation techniques. People are forced to discuss inter-dependencies and interfaces. And that’s where things go wrong.
Little time leaves little room for error
Working in sprints often means time pressure. Therefore people don’t feel comfortable to communicate open, honest and authentic. Little time leaves little room for error. And the self-management capacity of people only comes to live in a culture where you can, no háve to, make mistakes. It has to be more than ok to fail and make mistakes. So you can learn from these mistakes and to get back up.
Magical feedback culture
Everyone is different. To one person it might come easy to share your work, vision and results. Whilst the other is more introvert and less likely to share his or her work and give feedback. But it is not that simple. You can’t just say: “from now on we will give each other feedback”. This requires hard work, commitment and skills from all team members. Good leadership can only occur with the support and involvement of us all.