How to facilitate self-reliant teams that support Agility in an organization

There are strong biological and philosophical arguments  made in favour of the distinctiveness of humans in creation. Perhaps, that’s not given enough  consideration in a business environment. But when we confront the idea of self-organized teams, we are forced to engage ourselves with  our ability to co-operate and learn as groups.

 This is particularly true for leaders in organizations. To foster self-reliant teams that lend to improved agility, here are two methodologies to consider.

Avoid fundamental attribution error

There is a psychological bias inherent to all of us called fundamental attribution error. The idea is that we rely more on subjective explanations for certain phenomena than base our understanding on external evidence.

This sort of error is most at play when we come across a mistake a person has made and instinctively chalk it up to his or her persona. We assume that the mistake is entirely down to the person’s behaviour- their laziness or innate incapability.

If a manager or a team leader approaches one’s subordinates with this outlook, you are essentially stymieing the progress of your subordinates. It makes you hesitant in delegating them with the power to take decisions independently.

This inevitably results in centralization of power which leads to delayed processes and convoluted hierarchies- hardly conducive to an agile organization.

Such  an erroneous attitude also forces those in authority to try and tackle non-existent personality issues. This energy is better channelized towards remedying the circumstances which perpetuated the mistake in the first place.

Unless managers and other decision-makers wake up to the reality of this cognitive bias and how it might be affecting their values of judgment, they would remain reluctant in enabling a self-organising team.

The more efficient teams  can take decisions on their own and respond creatively to new challenges, rather than wait for managers to solve problems for them. Hence, it’s always prudent to trust your team members based on their past performances than on our very human but misguided biases.

Don’t let misguided biases hamper the smooth functioning of teams  

 Foster a culture of self-learning

If the team you oversee is involved in knowledge work, the chances are low they wouldn’t have the necessary wisdom to solve problems in their day-to-day work. In fact, such an assumption would be an oxymoron.

Yet, it is an unfortunate reality in many organizations that the decision makers show distrust in the subordinates’ ability to learn new things in a timely manner. Instead of promoting self-learning, they try to enforce a learning regimen.

 Such attempts are often done with good intentions. But learning is not just  essential for professional growth. It’s also a joyous thing. But it is a source of happiness only if you do it without being chained to a regimen.

Let the team members know that they are free to perform the research and experimentation required to learn new skills. Eventually, these skills are going to help your organization. Such self-learning also empowers the team members and sets them on a path of continual improvement. It also equips each team member to train others in the team, or help them develop skills where they fall short. That sort of a caring culture is just about priceless.

Learning is loving to improve oneself 

We at Temenos+ Agility are passionate about helping teams and organizations achieve their agile transformation goals, so much so that in addition to online SAFe® Agile courses, we also have created models like the Temenos Vision Agility model to facilitate the smoothest transitions possible. We have helped countless leaders and change agents in their Agile journey,

thanks to highly insightful coaches who are a treasure trove of practical knowledge, backed by decades of relevant knowledge.

Do drop us a line; we would love to help you take your Agile transformation wishes to the realm of reality.


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