2 Key Strategies for Managing Agile Teams

For many companies, becoming more agile requires a significant change in how leaders and managers promote sustainable success, with a philosophical and functional shift from performance management to performance development.

That, in turn, requires a cultural change in managers’ orientation toward team members — from bosses to coaches.

It’s a transformation that facilitates an organization’s ability to keep up with changing business needs in two key areas:

  1. coordinating among teams
  2. maintaining continuous learning

Coordinating Among Teams

As organizations shift from rigid hierarchical structures to more dynamic networks of interlocking teams, team leads become crucial connecting points.

They are vital conduits of information — to organizational leaders about the talent and expertise available on their teams and to their team members about opportunities within the organization that best fit their talents and aspirations.

Fulfilling that function requires managers to communicate frequently with employees about their strengths and developmental pursuits to provide richer information for talent resourcing.

Maintaining Continuous Learning

An organization is only as adaptable as its members.

To ensure that their workforces are versatile and innovative in the face of unpredictable challenges, managers should help team members chart a course of continual learning and development.

Not only does this coaching role promote organizational agility, it also helps ensure high levels of employee engagement.

An organization is only as adaptable as its members.

Companies that do not invest in continual training opportunities for employees may eventually find they need to make a massive investment in “reskilling” their workforce to remain competitive.

Gallup workplace research has identified three principles that consistently define effective coaching conversations:

  • frequent
  • focused
  • future-oriented

Though the annual performance review is increasingly regarded as ineffective, many employees still receive feedback from their managers relatively infrequently — almost half across the four countries studied say this happens a few times a year (20%) or less (28%).

This doesn’t mean managers should micromanage team members; coaching conversations are ultimately about inspiring employees and empowering them to address the needs of the organization and its customers better.

Employees who believe their companies have the agility to respond quickly to business needs meet with their managers more frequently than those who do not.

Across the four countries studied, 37% of employees in the “agile” category say they receive feedback from managers daily or several times a week — more than twice the proportion of those in the “not agile” group.

Conversely, those in the “not agile” group are twice as likely as those who view their companies as “agile” or “partly agile” to say they receive feedback from their managers yearly or less often.

This article is from The Real Future of Work: The Agility Issue

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