Rotate leadership roles in agile teams often.
I’ve been a proponent of flat organisational structures since my time at Thoughtworks. It’s especially great at promoting communication between all staff.
It empowers. It’s great for morale. It promotes healthy debate and ideas creation.
In this model the importance of organisational hierarchy is overshadowed by the tiers of employee experience. The senior are most vocal. The craftsmen lead the journeymen who lead the apprentice.
Leadership roles are typically filled by those from the most senior tiers. The choice of leader is usually subjective and different candidates offer different pro’s and con’s. Something can be said for rotating a number of senior staff through these roles.
What I’m proposing here is the same theory applied to agile teams.
- Leadership is considered as ‘just another role’: does away with the notion that leadership implies promotion, which stimulates an undercurrent of inferiority and superiority.
- Equality prevails: Equally recognises the skills of senior members.
- Fresh perspective: Different perspectives of problems and solutions are offered.
- Encourages individual growth: leadership roles are a great way to grow confidence, whereas stepping out of leadership roles is grounding and brings different knowledge to the coal-face.
- Individual accountability is important: It works best where blame culture does not prevail and teams and individuals learn in a non-threatening environment.
- Seniority is the minority: Apprentices may be better served with a fixed figurehead.
- Teams with staff churn: Better leaders are those already having experience working within the team.