There was a bit of the wisdom of Solomon about the conversation I had with Lee. I’m trying to let go. I’m trying to get operational decisions made as close to their point of impact as possible and this means that I don’t want to make operational decisions. I don’t want the Leadership Team too either. At best I would like the Management Team to make tactical decisions but leave the rest to those people who do the work, day in and day out and who are best placed to make them.
Now this is hard for two reasons. Most managers get into the positions that they hold by taking decisions. It is what they are good at and to stop doing so seems counter-intuitive. It goes against every fabric of their managerial bodies. It also means that they have to trust and rely upon those people who report to them more. And these are the people, who by their very nature, have not got to where the manager is because they haven’t taken those incredibly important decisions. Focussing on strategic decisions only appears to be paradoxical.
Anyway, putting that aside I think we are making progress yet, as Lee pointed out, my actions do not always support my aims. By way of example I can turn up at a joint meeting of the teams and talk about trust and empowerment which is great yet by doing so I am saying to the Management Team that I do not trust the Leadership Team otherwise I would have just let them get on with it.
That’s an interesting observation and it transpires that it is something that I do repeatedly. There are some initiatives that I get involved in that don’t have any Leadership or indeed Management involvement. Am I, by getting involved in these, reinforcing a message that I have not empowered those I work with and instead given the impression that they are to be bypassed. Is this not the freedom from hierarchy that I have long talked about?
Do I instead, have to back off from some of those things I think are important to allow and encourage others to pick them up?
I never said this was going to be easy.