The Self-Organizing Team

When you’re a leader, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Some things simply need to be taken care of by you, rather than delegated or outsourced. Naturally, that means that the less attention you’re spending on management, the more you have left for other things. But how do you give your team the guidance they need without over attention?

The answer is building a culture that focuses on your core mission, follows a few essential and clear rules, and attracts a like-minded team. For example, if you have a clear vision of your mission, and can articulate that concisely and clearly, that makes it easy to convey among your team – and easy to remember. That makes focusing on the mission a snap, reducing the need for guidance and course corrections from you. A simple but compelling mission statement makes it easy for your team to look at their task list and mentally compare their options to the mission, easily understanding how their actions will or won’t help to achieve it.

For additional clarity, lay down a few simple and clear ground rules. Don’t go overboard – people need their freedom and work better without being too constrained – but having a few simple rules gives your team a framework within which they can operate, and an overarching set of guidelines to which they can appeal when they are unsure of their next step. This also greatly assists with conflict resolution by providing a clarity around which behaviours are and are not acceptable.

Of course, the best way to avoid conflict and to keep everyone focused on the mission is to choose your team wisely. Ensure that every team member has goals that align with your core mission, and that each can work comfortably within the framework you’ve created with your rules. Skills are important, but having a good fit is just as important. A team that gets along, works well together, and can stay focused on the core mission is practically unstoppable.

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