Self managing teams

Boosting Performance With Self Managing Teams Understand With 3 Examples

Do you find your team members are on a different page, lacking direction, motivation, or unclear about their roles and responsibilities? Do you wish your team to work collaboratively and take ownership of their work? What if I tell you this is achievable with small amendments? Yes, you read it right; the answer is self managing teams. Now the question arises How? For that, you need to read the blog until the end, and you will understand the importance of a self-managing team and how to build one.

So what are you waiting for? 

Let’s make a team that works like a well-oiled machine.

What are self managing teams?

A self-managing team is a group of individuals responsible for managing themselves and their work without a traditional manager. These teams are often given a specific goal or project to accomplish and left to their own devices to figure out how to achieve it.

The idea is to give the team members more autonomy and trust to make them more motivated and productive. Plus, since the team manages itself, it can be more agile and adaptive to project or external environment changes.

Of course, this kind of setup isn’t for everyone. It requires high trust and collaboration between team members and the ability to communicate effectively and constructively resolve conflicts. But for those up to the challenge, being part of a self-managing team can be a really rewarding experience.

Characteristics of self managing teams Autonomy and decision-making: 

Self managing teams have the authority to make decisions and manage their work without the need for micromanagement from a supervisor. They are empowered to take ownership of their tasks and set their priorities.

  1. Collaborative work: Self managing teams work together to achieve common goals, collaborate on projects, and share knowledge and expertise. They operate under a culture of teamwork and cooperation rather than individual competition.
  2. Shared leadership: Rather than having a single leader, self managing teams distribute leadership responsibilities among team members, allowing each member to contribute their skills and expertise.
  3. Accountability and responsibility: Each self-managing team member is responsible for their work and held accountable for their contributions to the team’s success. This creates a culture of ownership and personal responsibility.
  4. Continuous learning and improvement: Self managing teams are committed to continuous learning and improving their skills and processes. They identify areas of improvement and implement changes to enhance their performance.

Benefits of Self Managing Teams Improved productivity:

Self-managing teams are more productive than traditional teams because they are empowered to make decisions and manage their work without constant supervision.

  1. Self managed teams offer employees a sense of autonomy, ownership, and accountability, leading to higher job satisfaction and engagement.
  2. With diverse skills and perspectives, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving. They quickly adapt to changing circumstances and identify creative solutions.
  3. Self managing teams are more flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances because they are not reliant on a single leader or manager.
  4. The team is committed to continuous improvement, which leads to higher-quality work and better outcomes.

Challenges of Self Managing teams

Self-managing teams may sometimes struggle to define clear roles and responsibilities, leading to confusion and inefficiencies, such as;

  1. Suppose there is some lag in communication or coordination. In that case, keeping up with every team member and ensuring everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives can be challenging.
  2. It may encounter conflicts and disagreements, which can be difficult to resolve without a clear hierarchy.
  3. The teams must balance personal and team goals to ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  4. Self-managing teams require accountability to ensure everyone contributes to the team’s success and meets their responsibilities.

Steps to build self-managing Teams

  1. Selecting the right team members: Building a successful self-managing team starts with choosing the right individuals with the skills, experience, and commitment to work collaboratively and take ownership of their work. In addition, it’s important to select people with a shared vision, values, and goals who are willing to work together to achieve them.
  2. Defining team purpose and goals: It’s essential to explain the purpose and goals of the self-managing team to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives. This involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals aligned with the organization’s mission.
  3. Creating a shared vision and values: Developing a shared vision and values helps establish a teamwork and collaboration culture. This involves defining the team’s core values and principles that guide their behavior and decision-making.
  4. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities: They are critical to ensuring everyone knows what is expected of them and can work effectively as a team. This involves defining each team member’s role, responsibilities, and decision-making authority.
  5. Providing necessary resources and support: Self-managing teams require resources and support to succeed. This involves providing them with the tools, training, and resources they need to carry out their work effectively and creating a supportive work environment that fosters collaboration and teamwork.
  6. Encouraging continuous learning and development: Self-managing teams are committed to continuous learning and development, which helps them to improve their skills and processes. This involves creating opportunities for team members to learn new skills, attend training programs, and share their knowledge and expertise with others.

Comparing Self-Managed Teams with Other Types of Teams

Traditional teams often require more micromanagement and oversight, whereas self-managed teams are designed to operate with less direction. Compared to conventional teams, self-managed teams are more autonomous and have greater decision-making power. This increased autonomy and ownership leads to a culture of accountability and responsibility among team members. Self-managed teams also tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction due to increased control over their work. In addition, self-managed teams enhance creativity, innovation, and efficiency by fostering collaboration, open communication channels, and shared responsibility.

Self managing teams

Self-managing team level of autonomy

Self-managing teams are designed to have a high level of autonomy, meaning they have a significant degree of control over their work and decision-making. The team members are empowered to manage their work, set their goals, and make decisions aligned with the team’s purpose and values. Typically have fewer formal structures and processes than traditional teams, giving them more flexibility and freedom to innovate and experiment. In addition, this autonomy allows self-managing teams to be more responsive to changes in their environment, such as changes in customer needs or market trends.

However, it’s important to note that self-managing teams must still operate within the organization’s overall goals and strategies. While they have a high degree of autonomy, they must remain aligned with the organization’s broader mission and work collaboratively with other teams to achieve shared goals.

The level of autonomy in self-managed teams can vary depending on the organization’s culture and the nature of the work being performed. Some self-managing teams may have more independence than others, depending on the complexity of their work and the level of risk involved. Overall, self-managing teams are designed to give team members a greater sense of ownership and control over their work, which can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and job satisfaction.

Check out an interesting way of building accountability at work in autonomous teams: How to find a great workplace accountability partner?

Examples of successful self-managing teams:

  • W.L. Gore and Associates: W.L. Gore and Associates, a global materials science company, is well known for its self-managing team structure. Their teams are organized around projects and are composed of individuals with different skills and expertise. Each team is responsible for managing its work, making decisions, and collaborating with other teams to achieve its goals. As a result, the company has successfully created a culture of innovation and creativity, resulting in numerous patents and inventions.
  • Morning Star: Morning Star is a California-based tomato processing company without a hierarchy or managers. Instead, they rely on self-managing teams to manage their work and make decisions. Each team is responsible for a specific aspect of the company’s operations and works collaboratively to achieve its goals. Morning Star’s unique approach to management has led to high employee engagement, low turnover, and impressive financial performance.
  • Buurtzorg: Buurtzorg is a Dutch healthcare organization that provides home care services to patients. Their self-managing team structure has successfully improved patient outcomes and reduced costs. Each team is composed of nurses who are responsible for managing their caseloads and making decisions about patient care. As a result, the company has created a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, which has led to high levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction.


Self managing teams can benefit organizations, including increased efficiency, improved communication, and greater employee satisfaction. However, successfully implementing self-managing teams requires careful planning, strong leadership, and ongoing support. Organizations must also ensure that team members have the necessary skills and resources to manage themselves effectively and collaborate with others. Nevertheless, with the right approach, self-managing teams can be a powerful tool for driving innovation and achieving success in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Sign up for Risely and stay updated with the latest tips and tricks to adapt to the growing work environment.

Can you guide self-managing teams effectively by setting expectations?

Test your skills now with the help of the free expectation setting assessment for managers and team leaders.


What is self-managing teams example?

An example of a self-managing team is a group of software developers who work collaboratively and autonomously to complete a project without a formal manager overseeing their day-to-day tasks.

What is the self-managed team model?

The self-managed team model empowers team members to make decisions and manage their work processes while providing support, resources, and feedback. This model fosters autonomy, collaboration, and accountability.

What is the quality of self managed team?

A self-managed team’s quality depends on factors such as clear communication, shared goals, accountability, trust, and empowerment. Self-managed teams can be highly effective and efficient when these factors are present.

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