Manager-Centered vs People-Centered

We can compare two different approaches when facing projects: manager-centered approach and people-centered approach:

MANAGER-CENTERED (traditional)

The manager is the only one who knows how to do the work. She devises a plan and then tells the people what to do. Everything is constrained to the insights and intelligence of the manager. This is an elitist attitude. These are micromanagers.


The people on the teams who are doing the work are the people best equipped to figure out how to do it. They must to be free to devise what to do, sharing ideas and expertise to come up with the best solutions. This is self-organization.

Self-organizing teams are not leaderless teams; it applies the collective intelligence of all of the people on the team. This is a competency attitude. They are not constrained to the manager’s thinking and are free to do their best work.

The role of the manager with this approach is to set goals and constraints, providing boundaries within which innovation can flourish. They facilitate, and remove obstacles. The manager empowers the people on the team. Agile managers are macromanagers.

Summing-up: Agile managers understand that who makes decisions isn’t as important as collaboration on information to make informed decisions. They understand that agility depends on trusting individuals to apply their competency in effective ways.

These Notes have been taken from:

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