In my role as a consultant, I often talk about super-powers--not because I am a geek who watches superhero movies, but because I believe that teams have super-powers. In the agile world, we know that teams are more than the sum of their parts--they can do more together than they could as individuals. A true team can do more by collaborating than a group of individuals coordinating their efforts. It takes concerted effort from an organization to create strong teams.
Most organizations that I see are matrixed, which can bring its own set of challenges as middle managers may have competing goals, there can be an abudance of competing status reports, and the projects and requests seem endless and all high-priority. A manager may understand the importance of teams and genuinely want them to develop their super-powers, but the transition can feel painful. It can feel like a blind leap of faith, and there may be stumbles. Are we asking for too much from managers? Are we crazy to think that a strong team will meet the needs of the organization better than partitioning team members to answer the constant requests?
Today's managers need a different set of skills--they need to develop their own super-powers. I like the "Matrix Leadership Competencies" found in the Leading in the Matrix infographic from Hay Group:
Infographic from Hay GroupIf that isn't detailed enough, you can also check out Esther Derby's post on What Do Middle Managers Do