In many traditional organizations, empowering employees to self-manage is a difficult challenge for management. Many managers were trained in corporate environments that fostered an “us and them” mentality between management and staff members. So, it is hard for them to believe that employees can – and will – get the job done without their constant supervision. In their minds, it is safer to keep close tabs on the employees in order to ensure that they are working hard and that work is being done correctly. What these managers fail to realize is the incredible motivational power of entrusting a person with a responsibility, particularly one that they were able to influence.
The less involved employees are in controlling the work that they do, the less motivated they are likely to be to want to do it (or do it to a high level of quality). Receiving management orders as irrefutable mandates can make an employee feel valueless, even trapped in their work, which can make them resent both their jobs and their employers. It is also likely to make them focus on giving the appearance of productivity (in order to appease management), instead of focusing on adding real business value to the organization.
Agile approaches take a middle ground between the two management styles by empowering the delivery team (employees) to do the work required under the guidance and oversight of business owners/managers. As long as the delivery team continues to produce the required results, the organization can confidently continue to entrust the team to self-manage.
The productivity resources section provides links to more detailed information on managing by self-motivation and other Agile approaches for increasing your organization’s productivity levels.
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