The Need to Empower Managers

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The Need to Empower Managers
Sridhar Gopal, Member
Coming to think of decision making process, I am sometimes surprised if not amused. Decision making has a lot of facts defined by science, art, philosophy and more. While all those theories are out of scope for this discussion here, I wish to share an experiential fact most often faced by today's professionals - everywhere but more in larger corporations.
Let's take a simple Resume story: You got a resume of your friend, you know the skill set in the resume qualifies the need of the hour, so you talk to your boss (the hiring manager) and he says: "send me the resume". After a while if you did not hear from him you check and he says: "I've forwarded it to HR". Now the HR ritual begins. After waiting for a long time you move in again and ask the HR person on the status. This brings an answer: "it is in the processing stage" and now it's the process stage. Patience running out we peep in again on the status and now you get the reply from HR: "we are waiting for the project to come in and as and when it happens we will let you know" so finally we're in the 'let you know-process', which is virtually in an infinite space.

Could this have been better dealt with a communication at step 1 saying -"this possible hire is for a prospective project likely land up in next quarter and we will keep this profile on hold till then... Or something like that? - It's decision and communication.This is just a lose case construct for a prospective employee. It could well be for any other cases.
Well, decisions are usually delayed due to non availability of data, a mistaken trigger, involvement of too many people, rejection of accountability et al. Whenever I have discussed this with managers and thinkers, during my 20 plus years of my professional journey, all answers seem to be rational and seem right.

But this also leads me to think about the "victims " of this cycle in the process. I also feel lot many organizations out there don't empower their managers for decisions making be it at any level. In many liberal or open organizations where the managers are truly empowered, the top level tend to push the file it to it's lower layers or the other way round. Until the decision "happens" rather then taken. This often insulates managers against any accountability issues (nobody in particular is held responsible in case of a wrong decision).

In conclusion: Where manages are empowered, they should acknowledge the empowerment, make decisions and take accountability. Beyond the science, art, philosophy or psychology of decision making it's a great relief to see decisions are also a result of a manager's (or a power that be) experience, intuition, logic, style or what ever one wishes to term this be. Hope sometime down the line soon decision making becomes easier, when it is - cutting across those irrelevant steps - and simple decision making remains simple. After all, as some scholars say, there are only 3 forms of decision - Yes, No and May be!

Empowering the Managers is Not Always the Best Approach
Haris Jamaluddin, Member
Several stakeholders wish to have their own hands to drive the organization. Empowering the managers is not significant in this situation. Conflict may then arise from the decisions and actions made by two parties.
Empowerment is only applicable when both Top Management and Managers are aligned with the same direction and objectives. Always looking for empowerment of managers may backfire to the practitioner and managers.


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