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Self-Directed Work Teams

ByJeanne Dininni, writer
Aug 09, 2010
> Career

How to make self-directed teams work for your company

Self-directed or self-managed work teams have become more common today than ever before. As recognition of the value of employee empowerment grows, many companies see the potential advantages of implementing self-directed work teams. Yet, many are also unsure exactly how to go about doing it and wonder whether it could really work for them.

Fortunately, many resources exist on the Internet today that can guide you in getting the help you need to make your self-directed work team project a success.

Some advantages of adopting the self-directed work team model are:

  1. Greater employee responsibility and accountability
  2. Greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction among employees
  3. Greater freedom for team innovation
  4. More effective use of individual team members' skills
  5. Greater "ownership" of project results by team members who have a stake in the project's outcome
  6. Greater empowerment, which leads to higher employee morale

Understand the self-directed work team concept

Learn why self-directed work groups work. Understand the principles behind the concept and the employee motivations that cause self-directed business teams to thrive. You'll then be better prepared to implement this model in your own company.

Train management thoroughly to prepare them for implementing self-directed work teams

Your managers are the people who will be responsible for empowering their teams to achieve their goals under their own leadership and self-determination. So, prepare them to help their teams excel by giving them the training they need in properly implementing the self-directed work team model.

Prepare your staff for self-directed team membership with some training of their own

Training your managers isn't enough. You'll also need to see that the team members, themselves, are thoroughly trained, developed and prepped for the exciting, though serious, responsibilities ahead. Effective training will equip them to be productive members of the team.

Get some guidance from an expert by using a self-directed work teams consulting service

A self-directed business teams consultant can help you get your program properly implemented, better ensuring its success. If you're at all unsure that you and your managers can pull it off on your own, consider using a consultant--at least at the beginning--to get you started.
  • Learn as much as you can about the self-directed work teams business, and then build anticipation for the soon-to-be implemented program among your staff. Getting them on board early in the process will help the implementation phase go more smoothly, and preparing them in advance will give you time to overcome any initial resistance they may have to the idea due to insecurity.
Jeanne Dininni
Jeanne Dininni
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