Regardless of project content and goals, group dynamics exist that define the size of a team. Teams that are too large are difficult to organize, if only in terms of schedule coordination. They also tend to fragment into subteams with informal subproject leaders.
Teams that are too small, on the other hand, not only lack capacity, they also lack the diversity of opinions to generate creative solutions. A team should therefore consist of at least five and a maximum of ten people.
Everyone knows it – No boss on the team.
I have asked the following question at all hierarchical levels, from the project team level to the corporate board: “Who is absolutely necessary in the team so that you can be sure that this team will not work?” The answer always follows within a few seconds: A boss!
Please let that roll off your tongue: An answer shot out of the gun, accompanied by mirthful laughter, especially from the bosses present. I claim that everyone in the world knows that a boss in the team prevents a team from taking full responsibility.
If the project is not going right, who does management turn to first? Which role does one try to step up to save a project? Who is replaced when it is recognized that a radical action is needed to correct the project?
And what distinguishes a particularly good project manager? That he takes responsibility for his project. That he identifies 100% with his project. That he burns for the project goal with commitment and complete dedication. And what happens in terms of group dynamics when someone with this ideal-typical description takes responsibility for his project in a group of people?
Meetings with the boss run differently.
You know the situation: The team is sitting in the meeting room, there is no boss present. Everyone is focused and committed to finding a solution. Everyone participates, people talk with hands and feet. Solutions are drawn on flipcharts, everyone is eager to add to their colleague’s idea. A highly dynamic flow.
Suddenly the door opens and the boss walks in. It is a good boss, he does not want to disturb – only to listen, to show attention. That’s why he approaches the table very politely, virtually on quiet soles, and sits down next to one of the team members on a free chair. He smiles and nods encouragingly because he senses that the discussion is going well.
What happens to what was just a highly dynamic, extremely creative and constructive solution-finding discussion? “Uh, maybe we should give the boss a quick summary?” Or, “Yes, we were just about to take a break anyway.” Or the discussion continues somewhat playfully while the real energy level has slipped below 50%. Why? Because someone came into the room with responsibility invisibly tattooed on his forehead. And that is the phenomenon of responsibility.
The delicate balance of responsibility.
As soon as someone in a group has a little more of it, it falls away from the others. Responsibility is highly sensitive, invisible, it can build up and break down at the speed of light, so to speak. In certain constellations it will not exceed a certain level.
AGILE wants to raise the responsibility of each individual team member to a higher level. This is precisely the fundamentally new approach, the cause of the sensational successes we have achieved with this method in many industrial companies.
More ownership by each team member.
The team needs to be freed from any kind of leadership, including informal leaders. But you know how it is: If a project leader removes himself from the team, space is often made for an informal team leader. He or she gladly takes on the new role because he or she sees career opportunities and is more committed to it. Management likes to see that.
Team members are often quite open to it as well. Teams that have been used to being led for many years fall into a kind of helplessness at the beginning and ask for a decision. Sometimes a junior, informal team leader is virtually pushed into this role by the team.
The AGILECOACH should prevent both of these situations. His goal is to increase the acceptance of responsibility in each individual team member.