Signal That You Have No Authority


If you are an Agile coach, it is essential that you signal to anyone and everyone (inside the client org) that you have no authority. Period. Teams automatically project authority on you, and it is essential that you not only refuse to accept it, but also that you immediately reflect it back to the team that is offering it to you.


For this to work. two things must be true:



  • Formally authorized authority figures in the org must be willing to grant authority to teams to make decisions within clearly defined guardrails. They must signal this continuously. And mean it.
  • You yourself must be able to resist any and all attempts by the team to draft you into the role of authority-figure. Otherwise you have “no shot” at encouraging them to self-organize, which is in essence the act of self-management.


  • Formally authorized leaders must signal that teams are free to make real decisions within well defined “guardrails”.
  • You yourself must resist being attracted to any and all projections of authority by the team.

Do you see why?


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