LeSS has a big impact on the management style in organizations. It requires a different type of management than the traditional management by controlling subordinates. It is much more aligned to the “Managers as Teachers” principle promoted in Lean Thinking
Two big impacts on the role of management:
- Self-managing teams delegates a lot of responsibilities to the team.
- Product Owners decide on what the work is that the team works on.
Both these dramatically change the role of managers in a LeSS organization.
Theory X and Theory Y
One important concept for understanding management in LeSS is the two extreme management styles also called Theory X and Theory Y (first coined by Douglas McGregor in The Human Side of Enterprise.
McGregor defined Theory X management as being based on the following assumptions:
- Average humans dislike work and will try to avoid working.
- Because of this, people will need to be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened so that the maximum amount of effort can be extracted out of them.
- People want to be directed as they have little ambition and avoid taking responsibility.
McGregor offers Theory Y assumptions, which are:
- Peoples spend effort to work as natural as they do to play and rest.
- People will use self-direction and self-control for goals that he is committed to. Commitment comes most strongly from the intrinsic rewards related to the achievement itself. That is the challenge, the learning, and the sense of purpose.
- Provided the right environment, humans seek responsibility rather than avoiding it.
LeSS requires management styles that are more on the Theory Y side.