The separation between thinkers (management) and doers (employees) was one of the key principles of scientific management, a system set up 100 years ago by Fredrick Talor. This principle still exists in any company where executives are defining the strategy or making any decisions that employees need to execute. This basic principle that governs most of the companies in the last 100 years and today educate the majority of the people to do what they asked and not to think what needed to be done.

We want people who are the opposite: people who can manage themselves, think forward, find problems, and take action to change what they believe is broken or can be done better. To make companies competitive people need to be able to take calculated risks, to fail, to learn from failures and to become better.

People need to manage themselves in any aspect. They need to initiate their development, they need to plan their future, they need to manage their time, they need to manage their performance, they need to be accountable for their commitments, they need to resolve conflicts with their peers, etc. All the tasks that use to be done by managers needed to be done by people.

Leaders still needed, but those leaders should be natural leaders, selected based on merit and not nominated by managers based on unknown criteria. Leaders should help people in the area of merit that makes them a leader. There might be several leaders in a group, each one of them supporting the group from a different perspective. One way or another, leaders are another form of self-management and not a form of old management.

Self-management is not a replacement for execution and accountability. On the contrary, self-management requires you to be responsible both for yourself and your group’s execution and accountability. In a self-managed group, you need to take care of all the challenges you see. There aren’t any managers to whom you can complain to and ask for resolution, you have to solve any issues (including yours).

When you identify or see any problem, self-management requires you to roll up your sleeves and fix it!


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