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How teams work
How teams work

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1.3.1 Leading a self-managed team

The leadership role in a self-managed team is very different from that of a team leader in a traditional hierarchical team such as a functional team. In a hierarchical team the team leader allocates work. In contrast, in a self-managed team, the leadership role involves taking on more of a supporting role, which includes identifying the long-term career and personal development needs of the team within the context of the overall organisation. Table 2 compares the roles of a team leader in these two types of team.

Table 2 The roles of a team leader in a hierarchical team and a self-managed team
The team leadership role in a:
Hierarchical teamSelf-managed team
The role is vested in one individual.The role may be shared.
To manage the team.To support the team by providing (or arranging others to provide) coaching and advice.
To plan and allocate the work done by the team.To agree, in discussion with the team, the standard of work and the aims, objectives and targets of the team.
To monitor and appraise the performance of team members in carrying out the tasks allocated to them.To monitor the achievement of the team as a unit. To appraise individual performance.
To motivate the team members.To provide the conditions for high motivation.
To act as the main contact point for communication between the team and the rest of the organisation.To facilitate the creation of channels of communication with the rest of the organisation.
(Based on the Self-directed Teams topic, Good Practice Ltd.)