Can Management Change?

There can be little argument about whether change will come or not. All of us have experienced sufficient change in the past 5-10 years to know it is constant and often disruptive. To resist has consistently proven to be an exercise in futility. And yet, almost as consistently, some management personnel persist in maintaining the status quo in the face of on-going, rapid, radical change.

I refer specifically of the unwillingness of some managers to delegate tasks effectively to staff. When will supervisors and managers finally realize staff can make them look good or bad? So, who is really in charge? Don’t ever forget that! Perhaps it is this realization which causes some managers to hang on to their perceived authority not realizing this only encourages good people to leave that much sooner.

Why would people not delegate? I have identified three possible causes:

  1. Management is afraid staff will do the tasks incorrectly. If that is the reason, then train them more effectively. I believe the real fear is staff will not do the task exactly the same as the manager. If that’s the case, either spend more time training them to do it like you, or fire them all and work more hours!
  1. Management is afraid staff will do the tasks better. If you are hiring properly, they should. If you consistently hire people who know nothing, what is the likelihood they will make you look good? Hire people who know more than you and their performance will just make you look great.
  1. Management is afraid staff will take over. That happened years ago, and people are still worried it might occur someday … hello, hello … staff already has the power to influence your performance rating and besides, most of them don’t want your job anyway.

The key to management looking good and producing above-average results lies in the ability to build strong followers. Hire good people who bring to the job strengths you do not have, give them lots of on-going training and development opportunities, teach them your system so they can effectively apply their knowledge and skills, and then … let them go and work. You are there as a support system to provide appropriate positive feedback, ask questions to get their input and ideas, listen to build trusting relationships, challenge them to exceed their own expectations, assist with the development of new skills needed because of change, model the performance and behaviors you expect to see in their work habits, and help them get back on track if they happen to slip … and everybody does sooner or later.

So many of your staff have great ideas. Have you asked for any lately? Most would agree that when people participate in making a decision, they are much more likely to implement it enthusiastically than they would be if it had been imposed on them. True management “power” exists in your ability to get things done through and with the willing cooperation of your staff. A common complaint in both private and public sector workplaces is “Management is unwilling to listen to us or give up their control.” Well, the really bad news is no one other than yourself thinks you are nearly as important as you do! You set the tone for your followers. Allow the to do what they do best and, in turn, deliver the results you deserve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *