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6 Must-Have Features of a Self-Managed Team

Posted by Kanika Sinha

September 27, 2023

Every self-managed team needs a solid foundation to be successful. Know all about the most essential building blocks.

A self-managed team, by definition, requires no day-to-day supervision, with each team member taking responsibility to get things done. 

However, the organization needs to provide employees with a clear vision, mission, and defined processes for a self-managed team to excel. 

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Understanding the six most essential building blocks of a self-managed team

With an increase in remote working over the last couple of years, traditional office hierarchies are giving way to new ways of team management. Several companies are abandoning the conventional organizational structure and adopting a self-managed team structure.

Remember that switching to self-managed teams is not about assigning roles, goals, and targets but creating a collaborative work culture. 

Clear communication, consistent support and guidance from the leadership, and complete transparency are the fundamental cornerstones of a self-managed team structure. 

1. Clearly defined objectives and roles

Clarity is the foundation for self-managed teams to flourish. Like a winning F1 pit crew, each member of a self-managed team needs to know, understand, and deliver their roles and objectives with precision and speed. Team members need:

  • A common and clear goal. 
  • Individual responsibilities and boundaries.
  • A spirit of collaboration.
  • Team decisions that drive combined success. 
  • Confidence that their role is unique and necessary for enhanced efficiency.

2. Team size and composition

Striking the right balance between team size and composition is critical to optimizing collaboration, creativity, and productivity. So, remember to: 

  • Define processes and guidelines. 
  • Hire employees with complementary expertise for a team with diverse skill sets. 
  • Keep the size in check. Small teams might fail to perform complex tasks, while large groups can fall prey to miscommunication.

3. Transformational leadership

By fostering a sense of purpose and a collective vision, transformational leaders create a positive and growth-oriented work environment. Such leadership provides the building blocks necessary for self-managed teams to flourish. As a result, leadership should:

  • Provide the mentorship needed to navigate challenges and achieve goals.
  • Create a positive, collaborative, and growth-oriented atmosphere.
  • Encourage innovation, creativity, and autonomy while stressing individual accountability.

4. Empowering team members

When employees feel they can voice their opinions and vision, they are more likely to contribute. This freedom results in innovative solutions and a result-oriented mindset. It is vital to create an environment which can:  

  • Unleash the full potential of self-driven teams.
  • Achieve outstanding results in a competitive business landscape.
  • Ensure confident and proactive employees take the initiative to contribute to the team and the organization. 
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5. Fostering a collaborative culture

In a collaborative culture, employees feel valued, heard, and supported — enhancing their commitment to the company’s vision. They need:

  • Autonomy that goes hand-in-hand with collective decision-making.
  • An honest exchange of information, ideas, and responsibilities without reservations.
  • Transparency and accountability.
  • Culture of openness and trust.

6. Understanding consensus vs. autonomy

A clear understanding of consensus and autonomy is crucial to the success of self-managed teams. 


  • It involves reaching a united decision within the team.
  • Emphasizes collective input and respects buy-in from everyone.


  • Allows individual team members to make decisions independently.
  • Encourages them to trust their judgment and expertise. 
  • Provides freedom and effectiveness in decision-making.

The choice between consensus and autonomy depends on the specific circumstances and the team’s culture. Knowing which one to go with is crucial for striking a balance between team efficiency and inclusivity. 

The final word

Undoubtedly, self-managing teams are needed to increase innovation, collaboration, and productivity. But nurturing these teams is more than a day’s job. 

Organizations need to take smaller steps to introduce this new structure. Start with taking the first steps by embracing the key features to make the process seamless and easy for all. If needed, take the help of an external expert who can help you get started and streamline the process. 

Want to know more about setting up self-managed teams? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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