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8 secrets to thriving in a self-managing team

Published 19 July 2020

You may have found yourself part of a newly formed team that is expected to be self-managed. A search online shows that there are many tips on managing self-managed teams but how do you, as a team member, not only survive but thrive in a self-managing team environment. I will reveal to you my opinion of what it takes to successfully collaborate in a self-managing team.

Working at home in a self-managing team
Working in a self-managing team can be rewarding for your career. Appreciation for the photo by Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels


The start of 2020 brought a slew of challenges with it. The biggest hurdle thrown at us has been the Covid-19 pandemic. Nations watched apprehensively as the virus rapidly clasped the entire world in its dreaded claws for what seems like an indefinite amount of time. It’s become a constant presence and we’ve been forced to live with it.

Even in dire times like these, mankind’s resilience has endured and people have tried to adapt. From businesses to individuals, everyone is trying to navigate the storm as best as they can. No industry has been spared.

Working from home has become the norm and even as countries try to re-open their economies by lifting lockdown, the threat of the virus still looms large. These circumstances have made the prospect of continuing to work from home much more attractive. And all of these factors have increased the popularity of self-managing teams.

It is worth noting that managers have widely been skeptical about whether arrangements like this would work. According to a recent article published in Harvard Business Review, most executives were afraid that productivity would drop, as their teams would shift to working from home during the pandemic.

Surprisingly, that’s not what happened. Employees managing to maintain their levels of productivity and creativity. The only negative outcomes observed due to the shift were decreased satisfaction and lower engagement. But luckily, these unfavorable side-effects didn’t last too long and, eventually, people found their groove again in approximately two months.

This paints an optimistic picture of the future of work, which will likely be supported by a more autonomous workforce.

The idea of more freedom and flexibility with work sounds ideal. But the fact is that some people are better than others at performing well under such circumstances.

If the world is moving more toward self-managing teams, you should know how to make the best of it. Here are 8 secrets to thriving in a self-managing team.

Secrets to self-managing teams

1. Understand your weaknesses and play to your strengths

To remain productive in a self-managing team, you need to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you try to take care of everything yourself, you’ll end up taking more time on certain tasks.

Work closely with your team members and distribute the work so your project gets completed successfully. Everyone can bring something of value to the table, so use that to your advantage and don’t overwhelm yourself.

2. Prioritize your tasks/projects

Take a look at your weekly tasks and mentally map out how you’re going to tackle each one. Be mindful of your progress and update your approach if necessary.

3. Monitor your deadlines

You’ll prioritize your projects based on deadlines and urgency, of course, but also keep a list of everything you need to complete. You could use your Google Calendar, Google Tasks, or other apps, such as Todoist, to get organized.

Don’t let the not-so-urgent tasks fall off your radar, you wouldn’t want to forget about them completely because this will cause your work to pile up without you even knowing it.

4. Keep a track of time

Use a time management tool like Toggl to keep track of how long you’re spending on each project. This will help you identify areas where you can improve your efficiency.

5. Synergize with team members

Two heads are better than one. Take advantage of the fact that you have team members you can brainstorm or collaborate with. This will create synergy and help everyone get in the productive zone.

6. Hold regular meetings

Touch base regularly and stay updated on the progress of important projects. Share insights and suggestions, too. These short meetings will prep you for coordinating with the members of your team more efficiently throughout the week.

7. Allocate time for breaks

If you constantly work for hours on end, you’ll eventually burnout. Keep your mental health in check and designate a period of rest for yourself.

Step away from the screen and relax; have proper meals, and squeeze in a bit of exercise, too. Breaks are necessary to help you stay focused throughout the day.

8. Recap at the end of the week

At the end of each week, do a quick recap of all the things that went right and all the things that could have gone better. Don’t let failure get you down and see it as an opportunity to improve and grow.

The autonomy that comes with being a member of a self-managing team can be extremely fulfilling. But if you don’t keep track of your performance, your career will suffer in the long run. Practice the tips mentioned above maximize your productivity, and learn to work smart while you’re at it.

There are plenty of productivity tools available online, make use of them and tweak your method of doing things as you go. The tools mentioned in this article will also help you optimize your workflow and overall efficiency.

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