Matrix Management Magazine
As leaders, we are wired to be efficient, to not spin our wheels, and not waste resources. Working with others can sometimes get complicated and frustrating - far from efficient. Consensus, adoption, team participation may sound like a leader's worst nightmare, but here are our thoughts on how leading your team collaboratively is actually the way to achieve efficiency.
Nobody likes to be bossed around. Yet a strong boss who is able to direct the actions of others is the type of leader organizations often find desirable as their processes and relationships become more complex. Traditional hierarchy is often seen as the only solution to managing complexity. Lines of communication and command are clear. Roles are clear. Decision-making is firmly in the hands of a boss. Team members follow the boss's lead. In theory, this seems straightforward but it’s actually much more complicated.
In our article, The Case for Team Accountability, we looked at reasons why shared team accountability promotes project success. But how do you keep track of who’s accountable for each deliverable?
Planning often gets a bad rap. It’s boring. It takes too long. It makes things sound too scary, or it’s never realistic enough to make it worth the effort… So how do we create plans that make our work easier, instead of just taking up time?
A colleague was driving to meet with a new client and she was late. She’d taken a wrong turn and called me for guidance. I took out my phone and opened the map application. After I typed in the destination address, I asked, “Where are you?”
Do your team members struggle to work together? Do your team leaders struggle to bring high-performing teams together to deliver team outcomes? Do team members succeed at fulfilling their individual assignments, but projects still fail?
We feel your pain and we have the cure. Shared team accountability.
Accountability can help or hinder your project. In the past, accountability was often synonymous with blame. It created fear, forced people to cover their backsides, and sabotaged learning. This kind of accountability did little to improve performance.
Are your team members challenged with multiple initiatives and conflicting priorities? Are you struggling to make commitments your team can keep when team members don’t report to you? Welcome to a matrix organization!
Working cross-functionally poses a challenge for any project leader. Team members have functional commitments and loyalties. Resource area leaders have functional goals and priorities.
What does sales have to do with project management? Plenty. All Project Managers need the ability to sell.