Self-management: What is it and what benefits it can bring to your accounting team

Self-management: What is it and what benefits it can bring to your accounting team

July 14, 2021

The migration of thousands of work teams to the home office model in recent times has reinforced a weakness that is already common within companies: the difficulty of managing people. Now that the team is no longer under the manager’s watchful eye, it seems that it has become much more difficult to keep everyone on the same page. In this context, an administrative model different from the conventional one begins to come into play: self-management

Self-management is an organizational form of work that encourages employees to have more autonomy and to be responsible for their goals and decisions. In self-management, the hierarchy is decentralized and its main objective is to distribute responsibilities, alleviating the tasks of leaders and increasing the performance and motivation of teams.  

In addition to more proactive and confident employees, the office that employs self-management gains more agility in its processes, reduces problem solving time and improves communication between the leader and his team. 

In other words, self-management brings numerous advantages to the business, to your company’s leaders and your team. So if you want to learn more about this concept and put it into practice in your accounting firm, keep reading this article! 

What is Self-Management 

Self-management, as I mentioned at the beginning of this content, is an organizational model based on the uniform distribution of decision-making among the employees of a company, valuing autonomy. 

One of the main characteristics that differentiates self-management from traditional management is that in the former, employees do not report to the leader whenever a decision needs to be made. In this way, it is not necessary that all his actions are authorized by someone with a superior position. 

However, don’t think that self-management is a mess. While the model values ​​independence, there are also established rules. A set of guidelines is created so that employees know how far they can exercise their autonomy. In this sense, rules and agreements must be defined, always valuing the quality of service and the responsibility of the office. 

In other words, self-management does not exactly grant equal power among employees, freedom to act following a set of well-defined guidelines. 

Self-management x Horizontal Management x Vertical Management 

The self-management is often confused with other organizational models such as the Horizontal and Vertical Management. But there are big differences between these management models and to make this clear we will point out these differences here to avoid confusion. 

Vertical Management 

Vertical management is the most conventional. Here, the hierarchy levels are well defined. In this model, it is common for employees to perform their functions without any questioning and, generally, they have little or no autonomy. Therefore, this type of culture is considered not to be innovative, since there is no opening for new ideas and perspectives. 

Horizontal Management

The Horizontal Management, as the name suggests, is the opposite of the vertical structure. In this model there is no defined hierarchy. It is as if there are no leadership positions and everyone works with equalization of power and authority. 


Finally, self-management unites the best of each of the two previous cultures, that is, it gives the employee the necessary autonomy to get their work done, but without giving up an organized hierarchical structure. This means that in self-management, the team reports less to the manager and follows a set of rules and agreements signed collectively to guide their decision-making. 

Myths about self-management 

The self-management, although not such a new culture is not well known by the companies. And for breaking some of the more vertical and traditional management paradigms, it is accompanied by some myths and untruths about its management model. 

So, so you can better understand the truth about self-management, I’m going to demystify some of these myths. 

In self-management there are no leaders

This is a big myth that surrounds self-management, because in this model there is indeed leadership, however, it is seen in a slightly different way from the traditional one. In self-management, leadership is seen in a more fluid way, that is, in each situation there is someone who will stand out and, naturally, will act as a leader. 

Thus, in self-management, the employee has more space to express their leadership, following the company’s guidelines and, depending on the situation, reporting to their superior. 

So yes, in self-management there are leaders, but the opportunity to lead is offered to the team as well. 

In self-management, it takes more time for decision making 

On the contrary! Decisions in companies that adopt the selfmanagement model are faster, since it is not necessary to talk to several leaders and managers for something to be resolved. 

Most of the time, the decision is made by the employee himself, who is in the operation and responsible for the task. 

In the vertical or traditional management model, problems go through several people or several meetings, before they are resolved, that is, in these models, it is correct to state that it takes longer for the decision to be made. 

In addition, self-management values ​​the employee’s decision-making, which contributes to growth and gain in experience.  

The self does not use rules or metrics 

In fact, in self-management, metrics become even more valuable, since it is only possible to know if this culture is working, if the results are positive and the work is delivered with quality. 

Remember that I mentioned that self-management uses rules as a basis so that the employee knows how far he can go? Then! Therefore, it is not correct to say that the office that uses self-management has no rules. With this model, having clear guidelines is essential so that everyone knows the principles and standards agreed by the company. 

In the case of metrics, even though it values ​​employee and team self-management, the company does not stop worrying about the results.

The self makes all equal 

What happens in self-management is an agreement between leaders, managers and employees about the rules that must be followed and how decision-making and autonomy need to happen.  

Therefore, even if the employee knows the rules and knows how the work should be done, there must be authority. However, what will diversify here is that the hierarchical relationship can be established based on tasks. That is, the employee knows how far his autonomy goes and for which tasks or problems his decisions need a leader to be taken.  

Advantages of self – management 

Before implementing any change in your company, it is necessary to assess the benefits that this decision will bring to your business. So I selected 3 of the main advantages of self – management . See below:


In self-management, work and the company depend totally on employees and teams. This encourages the development of the professional, since the responsibility for the work and for the good functioning of the company need him. 

In addition, the employee who recognizes this responsibility tends to strive even more for the development of their tasks, always seeking to improve and optimize their work routine. This contributes so that the service delivered to its customers has more and more quality and excellence. 


Here, the employee knows that, following the company’s rules and guidelines, it is possible to deal with any and all problems with fluidity, agility and autonomy. After all, he understands when he can use his decision power and how this facilitates his work, since he himself can command and solve his tasks. 

In addition, an employee who has autonomy, matures as a professional and develops new and better skills every day. 


The fact that they don’t need approvals and validations to get their work done, allows the collaborator to better explore their creative abilities, creating new ways to do their work. 

With this, self-management brings confidence to the employee and he is able to propose new solutions and valuable alternatives that the manager often could not see. 

Self – Management Challenge 

The biggest challenge of self – management is the difficulty in implementing this culture. 

Any change is difficult and implementing a new organizational culture such as self-management requires time and energy from teams and leaders and it may be that not everyone adapts to this new way of managing. This is because the team is used to working under the command of a leader and without acting directly with the resolution of the company’s problems. 

Therefore, changing this behavior requires commitment and encouragement. In addition, it is necessary to improve communication, planning and the company’s culture of transparency. The focus is to show the employee that changing directions in this way will bring him and his routine, countless advantages.  

How to encourage self – management of your accounting team  

Constantly intervening in your team’s routine can impact their development, in addition to repressing their skills. On the other hand, promoting and encouraging self – management of its employees allows them to develop the ability to manage their activities and tasks. 

So, for the employee to work with autonomy, some actions are essential to encourage self-management. Let’s meet them:  

Inspire confidence 

Providing autonomy to employees helps promote team motivation and directly influences office productivity and results. 

But, for your employees to feel safe to make new decisions, you need to be patient. 

This is because, at the beginning of self – management, it is common for some mistakes to happen, which is natural. It’s up to you to position yourself as a leader and help your team understand how best to resolve the issue. 

Repressing self-management is not advisable, as an employee who is afraid of making mistakes can have great difficulties in acting on their own. So show your team that you understand small mistakes. This will give them more confidence in your leadership and will motivate rather than repress them.

Be transparent 

Your team needs to know how the company’s objectives and goals work very clearly. This is part of the guidelines and rules we mention throughout this article. 

Being aware of all the stages of your tasks helps you and your team always walk in the same direction, focused on the desired results. 

Creating a transparent and direct relationship helps and encourages your team’s self – management, after all, they will know how the processes work and will thus be able to make their decisions with more autonomy and assertiveness. 

Have goals and indicators  

Having clear goals and indicators serves as a compass that guides the path your team needs to take to achieve the expected results. 

With this north, its professionals can carry out their self-management more fully , after all they will know where they should go and thus follow a path with more freedom and autonomy. 

But for this to work, the goals must be easy to understand, as well as tangible, just like the indicators. 

Prioritize balanced management  

A good and pleasant work environment is essential for self-management to grow sustainably in your organization. A happy employee, works more proactively, manages to create creative solutions and is more productive, and all of this is part of a healthy relationship between the leader and the team. 

So, avoid using aggressive tones and encourage your team to avoid them too. Show your employees how much you value their help in building your business. 

This will inspire them to use self-management for their office. 

Value autonomy 

The lack of autonomy can negatively impact your office, as it can disengage an employee, affect their productivity, the quality of their deliveries and make some processes slower than they should be. 

Therefore, more than giving autonomy to employees, it is important to provide them with conditions for them to achieve this independence. 

Allow and value the exposure of your team’s ideas, as well as suggestions that can help in making decisions and improving your activities. 

Also encourage leadership. Let them develop this ability to handle responsibilities. This attitude will improve your skills, in addition to making this professional more mature. 

Have good communication 

Communication is a key part of self – management. Having a good dialogue helps to avoid conflicts, allows for a good relationship between leaders and the team, in addition to contributing to a good organizational climate. 

Talk to your team, show how much you value dialogue and how it can facilitate the company’s day-to-day activities, also emphasize that communication contributes to greater participation on their part. 

Also, show that you are also willing to receive assertive feedback. Thus, it is possible to understand your employees, understand how they think and then create actions that can improve your business processes and communication.

Escape from authoritarian management 

Encouraging self-management is not just about changing team behavior, managers, leaders and directors must change as well. 

An authoritarian management, which imposes functions and does not experience the day-to-day of the office, for example, will have little chance of success in self-management, since it will not be able to create a relationship of commitment and loyalty with the team. 

The ideal is to eliminate imposing postures and focus on management based on trust and respect. The intention is to awaken in the employee the will to cooperate, therefore, a management that gets more involved, rather than just delegating, makes sense.  

Encourage participation 

The satisfaction of a team is linked to the feeling of being able to contribute to the office’s growth. This is the focus of self – management, it seeks to integrate the entire company with the objectives and goals of growth. 

Just as it is important to have an engaged team, it is necessary that everyone feels a fundamental part of the office and participates in its achievements. After all, if you share the responsibilities, you must also share the merits. This encourages the employee to demonstrate it more and more.

Now it’s up to you! 

The self help build, with small gestures and actions, more human teams, collaborative and aware of their role in the organization. What can be turned into productivity, quality and motivation.


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