Agile, Business Performance Consulting, Project Management

Agile Knowledge Work: Let’s drop the lingo

Activists often exist within an organization and are willing to take on the role of stewards, leading from within and encouraging others to join them on the journey. The more they understand the general direction the organization is attempting to travel, they can help create momentum if the structures that would normally prevent them are removed. They can help dismantle the pyramid of management from the inside.

This can be threatening to established large enterprises, rightfully so!

Addleson suggests dropping the use of the words like “management” and “leaders” as they convey high control into the conversation. These words indicate only some people are empowered and they perpetuate the idea that organizations have tops and bottoms.

Instead, managers can become active and empowering “Counselors” and “Guides” who support team achievements, motivation, encouragement and facilitating obstacle removal. Would this reveal a different world?

Leaders can become “Stewards” of responsibility and accountability. They see the long-term goals of the group and help ask the tough questions that help everyone remember not only the journey they chartered but also the reason for it.

Addleson is quite aggressive with his suggestions on banishing words like management from the dictionary. It is uncomfortable and difficult to imagine a knowledge work environment where the words management and leadership are no longer used, but consider this for a moment. Isn’t anyone who acts responsibly, with suitable experience, is capable, shows insight and foresight, in a position to make sensible decisions and takes practical actions worthy of guiding a collective effort and direction?

What would happen in your workplace if “managers” started asking people what they thought was best and supporting their team’s ideas and efforts?



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