Empowering Managers to Lead: a Reflection

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Empowering Managers to Lead: a Reflection
Bomo Albert-Oguara, Manager, Nigeria

The complexity of the modern day organization compels the company to empower and transform its people at all levels to lead with the aim to compete advantageously..

Going through some very trying times in our organization has opened my managerial eyes to what truly empowering your subordinates to take decisions means for the business and organizational performance overall.Too often,we tend to concentrate authority at the top without sparing a thought for what it can do or does to morale.Immagine a situation where the boss suddenly goes incummunicado and decisions need to be taken to solve a life threatening situation(that of the business) and he cannot be reached.

The Subs are left fraustrated,helpless and flaundering in the wilderness of corporate confusion.
Two of my subordinates found themselves or rather we found ourselves in this situation where as general manager they couldnt reach me on phone because of an unscheduled trip to a location where telephone services were poor.They needed my decision as well as authority, a very crucial one at that, to incur expenditure to fix a problem at our branch operations some 150kms from headquarters.They were in a quandry.Anyway, they took the decision jointly and were funny enough prepared for the consequence they perceived.Were they correct in doing so? Absolutely;within the context of the kind of organization we have fashioned out I might quicky add.The corrollary is that the problem would have remained unsolved, it would have multiplied and we would have lost more revenue than we already had at the point in time.Mind you, we were five days into the equipment down time and we were not prepared to let it go beyond the week.
Their act of bravery therefore was timeous. Micro managing is a killer of organizations big or small.The bigger the organization, the more the size of the problem.For acting with managerial initiative and applomb.I thanked the managers responsible and told them how appreciative I was of their individual attitude to their function.Motivation is not only about fiscal incentives, paid holidays;it is also about the odd thank yous' and good word verbal and written when sound managerial decisions are taken by subordinates.One is not saying that monetary motivational tools are not worth their while.On the contrary, corporate organizations should use more non-monetary motivational tools side by side with monetary ones.
Empowering managers to take ownership of their functional space helps spur them to greater participation in the doings out of the ordinary.As a leader, using the term advisedly,I have believed in internal entrepreneurship, given the fast paced nature of things in the business environment;more so when margins are shrinking faster than the speed of light.Managers must be nimble-brained, able to think on their feet and out of the box to remain in business.Its a no-brainer to suggest that the organizational climate must be availbale to nurture the ability of managers to lead at all levels.Organizations need leaders at various rungs of the corporate ladder, no more only at the top echelon.The twentieth century corporate environment teaches us this vital lesson and we fail at the painful cost if we fail to heed its call.
The complexity of the modern day organization therefore compels the company to empower and train its people at all levels to lead with the aim to compete advantageously. Gary Hammel, visiting professor of strategic and international management thinks organizations instinctively should create opportunities for managers to be innovative;for people to be leaders;teach them on how to exercise leadership at all times when formal authority is not available.He states,"... Give people those new leadership skills that allow you to exercise leadership. Get things done, even when you dont have a lot of formal positional authority.
Effectively.Hammel's prescription is for the presence of innovative leadership at all levels of the organization.Leaders should be everywhere in the organization .

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Other Views by this Author: Beyond the strategic plan | Reflective Leadership

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