Autonomy - How do you manage this on your teams?

Posted on Sun 12 March 2023 in Leadership

An Engineering Manager peer recently asked this question:

The word of the day is: "Autonomy". How do you manage this on your teams? What are is limits (are there any) and what do you do if there is a bigger change the team covers up with you don't agree with or are concerned about? This is technology, process, etc. What do you consider your job or role is around that?

This was my answer:

Enabling my team to have the right level of autonomy is what i consider to be primary of my job role. We would define this via team working agreements, etc.

If there's a bigger change, then this calls for discussions and level setting. HOW this is done, might be unique based on the given situation. but overall, I would make sure I am aligned with the team on our joint definition of autonomy.

In the end, I consider accountable to this, so i would work closely with the team in aligning expectations around this.