How to be a more powerful leader enjoying less control

The focus of this article is commitments for time-based work as part of agreements between teams. We explore approaches and leadership techniques that empower teams, while reducing the time and stress required to control. In Part I, we explore the challenges with today’s tools that protect rights and target control.

Framing the challenge
“determining accountability, risk and rewards for teams has a high-process cost”

The underlying fundamentals of time-based work in terms of time, cost, risk and value make the discussion of accountability, risk and rewards a difficult conversation. The protocol and tools for teaming agreements, in general use today, are based on the adversarial legal system. Its hallmarks are rights protection and control. They do not function well in today’s complex matrix style organizations with many unknowns. The result is higher cost processes, as well as misalignment that all-too-frequently results in escalating dysfunctional conflict. The impact of poor alignment is experienced as resistance to value delivery. We refer to propensity to create such resistance as “structural risk”.

To support these new structure communication needs, we are proposing a lower cost collaboration protocol for the difficult conversation around team commitments. This protocol introduces a collaborative system for commitment and accountability, and a problem-resolution culture by integrating interest-based negotiation and conflict resolution support.

team accountability and sharing risk within a collaborative frame has the potential to halve the waste from reductions in process cost and cost of conflict.

With this, leaders help teams align better with partners and collaborate around risk. It lowers trust levels required to engage and build strong trust-based relationships. Leaders can avoid strong dependence on control to drive required behaviour rather they can empower and incentivize teams to optimize value delivered.

Today’s enterprise implementations of Agile-Lean approaches offer leaders collaborative processes for delivery. However team accountability and sharing of risk across and between teams is still challenging.

This article follows the journey of a typical team engagement that will feel very familiar. We take a critical look at today’s methods and explore how to engage with less control more collaboration to address age-old issues of wastage, unaligned interests and the adversarial relationships that frequently result in a blame game (when aspects of the project don’t go well).

For the article, please see Medium blog “Decentralized Teams” How to be a powerful leader enjoying less control 

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