Growing as a Professional in a Self-Organized Company Growing as a Professional in a Self-Organized Company

By Tiina Knight

03.07.2017

Today’s modern organizations – many software service companies included – have abandoned the traditional, hierarchical way of working, relying on self-organizing teams instead.

Evenly-distributed decision making, flat management structure, and need-based, independent teams make companies more resilient and employees happier. To the goal-oriented professional figuring out their next career move, a self-organizing work environment offers a perfect place to grow.

Using your full potential, your own persona

A specialist is always the expert of their own work. Who would know your strengths, potential, and goals better than you do yourself? In a self-organized company, a manager isn’t telling you how to do your job or planning out your career path: rather, you control your own destiny. This gives freedom to use your full potential and reach out to the projects you are interested in.

With this freedom also comes great responsibility for your working methods, productivity, and accomplishments. Even so, a manager-free environment doesn’t mean you are left completely alone: having a mentor, coach, or a group of peers by your side gives an extra boost to your career development.

Growth through psychological safety

The key elements of a self-organized work environment are trust and psychological safety. In an environment that supports building trust among coworkers, an employee can feel safe even when making big decisions or expressing new, innovative ideas.

When mistakes are acceptable, people dare to step out of their comfort zone, take new responsibilities, and therefore grow as professionals. Anyone can become a manager when one is needed, or a young developer can find him/herself in charge of a multi-million euro customer - with the support of peers, of course.

Independent, but not lonely

The freedom and responsibility given to an employee in a self-organized company makes work very independent, but it’s not lonely. As a matter of fact, self-organization relies on teamwork, brainstorming, and co-creation. Knowledge sharing and learning happen naturally when teams are built according to needs instead of an organizational hierarchy. Juniors work closely together with seniors, and people with different backgrounds and skills are brought together to create something great.

The lack of cynicism is visible: power games and competing egos don’t exist in an environment where team members support each other as they share responsibility in reaching their collective goals.

How to become the hero?

After having worked in a modern organization, many people would not want to go back to a more traditional way of working. However, working in a self-organized environment isn’t for everyone. It requires self-management skills and capabilities to set your own boundaries, as the endless supply of possibilities can, in the worst case, lead to burning out.

You must be eager to pick up new skills and willing to venture into the unknown, trusting both your own intellect and your peers to support you. Self-knowledge is needed and can take you far: when knowing your own strengths and career goals, a self-organized company can be the perfect place for taking your career development in your own hands and reaching those goals.