Do we still need managers?
For organizations to stay alive in an increasingly unpredictable word, a big change needs to happen in how the organization is managed.
Very often I’m hired to help leaders with team problems: “make my team move faster and be more productive!” But what our work often ends up doing is helping teams with leadership problems.
When it’s stressful, most of us have learned to go into command- and-control mode and start giving orders. And this worked! We were promoted and given more responsibility. But we have to unlearn a lot of the behaviors that enabled us to gain the position high up in the organization if we want an agile transformation to truly take hold.
Don’t be the chessmaster that controls people, moving them around as pawns. Management’s new job is like a gardner who works on the system: creating a healthy environment in which people can grow and results happen. Going from an ego-system to an eco- system is a paradigm shift in decades of business culture and it requires undoing the habits of a lifetime for individual leaders.
Every month, I teach a in-house Masterclass Agile for Managers at one of my clients. I decided to dedicate this newsletter to some of my favourite content about this subject. I hope you enjoy it!
Do we still need managers? (slides)
Last year I gave the talk "Do we still need managers?" (click the image to see the slides on SlideShare) at Scrum Day Europe. The talk concludes: "If we look at some the Silicon Valley-style digital first organizations, we discover that these companies still heavily rely on managers. However these managers do something completely different than the ones we find in traditional enterprises."
Also, I believe self-management is a big part of the future of work. This is why I dedicated the previous newsletter on this subject.
So, what comes after agile? Self-management is definitely one of the ingredients.
David Marquet: Turn The Ship Around
I highly recommend reading the book Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet in which he introduces the concept of Intent Based Leadership. If you don't have the time to read the book, at least check out the video and article below.
Leadership: "Embedding the capacity for greatness in the people and practices of an organization, and decoupling it from the personality of the leader."
Articles about agile leadership
Middle management can either be an organization’s driving force or its biggest drag. Which will it be for you?
Here’s what agile leadership teams do differently.
Want to get rid of bad leadership? Let people select and evaluate their leaders.
Your primary job is to ensure that your employees can do their best work. This requires building an environment in which they can thrive, taking the time to communicate, and being mindful of their needs and how they want to work.
Agile relies on self-organization, which is super-effective (when done right). But with more than a handful of teams, self-organization sometimes needs a helping hand – someone to create and maintain the environment that enables self-organization in the first place.
Upcoming speaking events
I'm featured as a speaker on the following conferences:
• OX:Agile - 15th of September - Oxford, UK
• Agile Amsterdam - 21th of September - Amsterdam, NL
• IT for Finance - 30th of November - Rotterdam, NL
If you're interested in letting me speak at your event, just let me know. I've just launched a new website focused on speaking.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter, please let me know if you have any feedback. Feel free to forward this e-mail to whoever might be interested. To get in touch with me, simply hit ‘reply’.