You don’t want self-management. And here’s why.

Google self-management and you find an endless list of posts extolling the virtues of the same. That’s complete bullocks! I’m here to tell you, in very uncertain terms, wink-wink*, that self-management (or self-direction or self-organization or self-whatever) is absolutely not what it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s why:

  1. In a self-managed organization, you don’t have a job description. There’s no way to know what does and does not fall within “your” scope. You need to figure that out yourself; you need to figure out what you can do that others value, and then go do that. And if that doesn’t work, you need to do something else or leave. That’s a whole lot of stress that you don’t want!

That’s why you don’t want self-management. And so next time someone tells you self-management (or self-direction or self-organization or self-whatever) is the bee’s knees, either tell them off or, better yet, run the other way. The person is clearly insane; there’s no telling what they’ll say next!

Alternatively, if after reading the above you still think self-management might be for you, please consider subscribing to WorkMatters — a weekly newsletter and Medium pub on organizational design, business agility, and better ways of working. Self-management is a topic frequently covered.


*That’s not a typo. Hint, hint. This post is written in jest. I’m very much a proponent of decentralization, empowerment, and self-management.

Designer, reader, writer. Sensemaker. Management thinker. CEO at MAQE — a digital consulting firm in Bangkok, Thailand.