Acts of leadership
It was way back last year, as agile subject matter expert, when I was entrusted with delivering a client project in jeopardy, which involved cleaning a remarkable technical debt that arose for lack of effective change management practices. Team was clueless on priorities, what needed to be picked up and highly overwhelmed with the client pressures.
I knew, as consultant advisor, I had to bring up the team morale, enthusiasm while accepting the situation to move one, ensure connected - ness, be at their best productive velocity while also ensuring client at the highest priority business value. Clearing of debt while handling new change requests, needed at least 2 to 3 months with a team of 20 people. I had to bring in the right processes.
“Some of the best leadership comes from everyday acts from people"
Self-organzied, empowered and high performing teams when supported with the right process (core driver) as a catalyst can provide opportunities for random acts of leadership from the team members. The process and related operational support itself becomes a platform for people enablement and empowerment towards leadership and effective decision making thus minimizing management overheads.
We practiced Kanban in full swing to blanket our current delivery execution frameworks for more efficiency, throughput and in turn empowerment as "emergence". The process by itself allowed for team autonomy to make decisions, collaborative decision making and collective removal of bottlenecks.
Supported with the right mentorship, guidance and course corrections from managers, team members were "allowed" opportunities to think and speak with a daily cadence (via daily stand ups) to
enable and support each other (in turn learning cross-functional skills)
remove bottlenecks to early closure i.e faster delivery (thus unlocking sometimes ecosystem specific issues)
build quality circles among themselves proactively to mitigate any gaps in requirement understanding
rework on existing and unproductive patterns of behavior (either for self or others)
think solutions to bring about changes in project dynamics, etc. to meet project goals and have a mindset towards continual improvement.
Further, in a project context allowing opportunities for acts of leadership from team members makes it less transactional and more transformational. For this identified a new leader in the system not only taking charge of the project itself but also giving her an opportunity to share how the process itself became a catalyst, to other circles in the organization. Of course the above was supported with right engagement practices and counselling to handle the past drain out.
"Leaders as enablers to future leaders" perhaps would be the best way to think the transformed definition of project management.
Sometimes the process itself, if rightly followed can provide a system an opportunity to know potential interests towards leadership and management.
Complexity, sometimes can be dealt with simplest of solutions.