Myth Two If Left Alone Teams Will Naturally Develop

Much of the literature on team-based organizations suggests that a manager's role needs to change. These articles go on to describe the manager's role at a macrolevel, as a coach with minimal involvement in the team's day-to-day operations. Managers usually interpret this material to mean: do not meddle or interfere in the natural group development of the teams; stay out of the team's way; take a distant position in relationship to the team; and focus more intensely on other challenges, such as global, architectural, and strategic issues. All of these actions are intended to give the teams the space they need to develop into fully functioning self-directed teams.

At the same time, managers still exhibit some of the tendencies associated with myth one; they become involved with great zeal when there is a problem, providing direction and leadership as in the past to save the day, but they retreat to their offices or conference room when the incident is over to handle their global tasks. In the initial phases of team development, this management at arm's length with associated spurts of crisis intervention is not the most effective method for implementing teams. A more effective approach to the relationship between managers and teams throughout the team process is depicted in Exhibit 2.

Exhibit 2. The Transfer of Authority (From J.D. Osborn et al., Self Directed Teams: The New American Challenge, Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin,

The first stages of team implementation require far more managerial involvement than managers realize. It is in the final stages that the transfer begins to take place and the team vision is realized. Organizations try to implement the vision — the final stages — without living through the natural growth steps. Several different methodologies explain the various stages that groups experience in their development. IS managers should familiarize themselves with the natural development expectations of this living entity called groups and recognize that management functions continue to be a part of the ongoing health of the team, even in the final growth stages. The third myth addresses the interesting related inference that managers will no longer be in the picture in the final stages of team development.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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