After we touched the main challenges with self-management at work, it’s about time to get a glimpse of the advantages of self-management. I took the same approach with the challenges, and I choose to focus on the main strengths. Those that you usually see more or less six months into the implementation. Those benefits will keep on growing as you spend more time practicing self-management at work.
There are three main advantages (at least from my experience). A significant increase in employee engagement, readiness to operate in extreme situations that can impact your business (regretfully we experienced it in reality) and exponential growth in performance.
Better engagement: How would you feel if you could make your own decisions at work, implement them, and celebrate the success? Well, you are not unique. When you give people that ability to make their decisions and implement them, you trigger two human behaviors. First, when someone decides, he is more committed to success. Second, the ability to decide makes us more connected to the working environment. If you think empowerment reaches the same results that I just described, you’re right. Self-management goes deeper than engagement. When you are taking away management and distributing the management role to the group members, you are giving anyone the ability to define the groups future, how the group operates and influences all the HR-related processes. That puts any individual on the team in the lead seat. She has influence and control on her daily workday; she is the creator of the working space, the culture, and the results. When you have the feeling that you are creating something new that you can influence, you feel like the owner. Feeling and behaving like the owner is the highest engagement level that you can get.
Are you ready for an extreme event that will disrupt your business? Any extreme event that will disrupt your business (Loss of your competitive advantage, a change in the industry, losing your ability to operate due to a natural disaster) will cause shock and confusion. Even if you can plan for part of those events, when they are taking place they will introduce new challenges in magnitude that you never expected. In such circumstances, planning will help but won’t save you. Having the right culture and ability of your associates to step up, take action, and to be creative will save you during such an event. Implementing self-management creates a culture that requires any associate to make his own decisions and to be accountable for his actions without fear of punishment or judging. Deciding in an environment where any choice influences other decision-makers also requires better communication and collaboration to prevent a collision. Such a culture is crucial for any recovery from business disruption. Practicing the described culture every day encourages people not just to behave the same in times of crisis but to take this behavior to the extreme. I’m not just talking theory here.
Killing silos, increase wholeness and boosts performance: When you can decide how you will resolve a problem, you are committed to the resolution, and you will do everything you can to prove that your solution is working. You are not just committed to the solution; you are also committed to finishing the task on time and without exceeding the budget. Guess what, this rule applies to most people, and therefore practicing self-management at work will help any organization see a significant increase in almost any metrics the group uses to measure performance. Self-management pushes the traditional monolithic team environment where you are part of a team that has the same skill set (HR, IT, Financial, engineering, etc.’) into a hybrid consultancy model where you can perform different roles (that not merely match your expertise) in various groups. Being on several teams provides one the ability to contribute not only your expertise but also any another talent that you usually are not required to bring to work (organizing events, any artistic abilities, or any skill set you have a preference to do) helps to kill silos and increase wholeness. It kills silos by dissolving classical departments and teams into hybrid teams composed of people that are performing different roles in different groups. It increases wholeness by encouraging any individual to express any skill set that she possesses at work and by installing the idea of belonging to one big heterogeneous group instead of one homogenous team.