While I am sure everyone on our team has experienced their own challenges working in a self-managed environment, let me take a minute and tell you about mine. The main challenge for me is when I see people making what I believe to be mistakes and then holding my tongue.
If you have not been following this blog, essentially our group has moved from a more traditional top-down, hierarchical structure to one of self-management. In a nutshell this means that we have created very clear definitions of all the various groups and roles within our department, encapsulated in each role or group as: purpose, domains and accountabilities. Each group and role has full autonomy and authority to accomplish its tasks however it sees fit, within those boundaries. While group leads can assign tasks to roles, they must also respect the autonomy of each role, which includes not telling a role or a sub–group lead how the work should be done.
All this is easy to say, but very hard for me to do. Anytime I see someone that I feel is making a mistake, it takes a great deal of effort to keep it to myself and let them down their path. Experience has taught me that what I think is a mistake often times turns out to be a better idea with better results than how I thought it should be done. Still, it is hard for me when I feel that someone is going to do something different from what I think, especially when I fear that the results of the action will have a negative impact on my accountabilities.
As I have already mentioned, in many instances I was eventually proven wrong. Instead, by enabling people to try different ways to reach their predefined goals often results in a better way ofperforming the task. Perhaps due to my personality, though, I still find it hard to let people do something that I believe should be done in a particular way.