Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unbalanced self-organising teams

In my experience it's very easy to disrupt the balance of a self-organising team, just change someone's status within the company. If a self-organising team is made up of peers, each person takes leadership dynamically. Even if the team has a few junior members they tend to fall into a mentee - mentor dynamic. If one person is perceived to be more important the team will look to that person for leadership. I'm not saying that self-organisation can't work with an imbalance in status, it's just that different considerations are needed.

Firstly it's up to the person in question to understand this change in dynamic and address it directly with the team. One idea is for the leader and team to come to an agreement that no one person is more important than the others. Put this agreement on the wall in the team's working area. That way they can point to it and hold the person with more perceived importance to it if necessary.

Note: Violation of that agreement, can send a message to the other team members that the leader doesn't agree with the working agreement.

What are your experiences with unbalanced self-organising teams?

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