How to organise your team as an HR leader

The team development & management strategies that most HR Leaders use

A great team is an unstoppable force in a company. A team that works well together is capable of doing anything, and it is well worth the time and money it takes to develop it. As an HR leader, one of your goals is probably to develop such a team, or even better, find a way to consistently and successfully develop great teams.

There are a number of philosophies and strategies you can adopt when it comes to team management and development, and all of them lead to vastly different results. We have rounded up a few of them here for you.

A great team is an unstoppable force in a company.

organise your team as an HR leader
Self governance

The members of a self-governing team agree among themselves what rules to follow, how best to get work done, and who does what. This greater freedom is beneficial in that it allows the freedom for teams to reach their full potential, and with it, the promise of better collaboration and maybe even innovation.

Valve Press is an example of a company that adopted a business model without any kind of top down management.1 Valve Press employees picked what projects they wanted to work on, and never answered to anyone. This resulted in only projects that had a good chance of success being picked, effectively screening and eliminating poor projects before they even began.

Of course, self-governance isn’t without its drawbacks. A self-governed team requires a high initial investment as they learn to work out the kinks, and may need more time to come up with plans than a managed team would.2

organise your team as an HR leader
organise your team as an HR leader
organise your team as an HR leader
Hands-on management approach

On the opposite side of the coin, a hands-on management approach provides a clear authority in a manager who is there to guide the team through projects. This doesn’t have to mean micromanaging every detail of a team’s dynamics, but instead giving a team the benefit of your knowledge and experience from a lifetime of getting projects off the ground.

Hands-on ensures quality from a team, and reduces inefficiency, but it may come at the price of creativity. A team that has constant oversight and direction given to them may become complacent and somehow ‘lazy’ in following direction. They risk sticking to what they feel is safe, without questioning whether what they are doing is best, useful or truly innovative.

By blending together strategies, you can find what suits your unique team and make the most of it.

Autonomous teams

A recent method of team organization is known as Autonomous teams, which consists in giving teams a vague direction to follow, and allowing them to make their own decision from there on. A 2013 study published in the Ivey Business Journal found that autonomous teams, although unusual, were often wildly successful.3

While this may seem similar to self-governing teams, all of the successful autonomous teams in the study reported good management and a hands-on approach as part of their success. All of the failed teams reported poor management as a factor in their failure.

Balance is key

Although all of the different types of team organization have pros and cons, the best choice is often a delicate balance between different extremes. By blending together strategies, you can find what suits your unique team and make the most of it. By putting in a guiding hand when necessary, you can still give your team the freedom they need to be successful, without interfering with their innovation and creativity.

Want to know how to align and engage your entire workforce? Download here the workbook The Power of Interactions and make sure you set yourself up for success by aligning your teams, all employees and your workplace towards creating the outstanding employee experience you need to take your organisation to the next level of success. 

Your guide to aligning and engaging your entire workforce around any transformation.


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