Leadership – Some Thoughts About Structure, Self-Sufficiency And Responsibility

Leadership – Some Thoughts About Structure, Self-Sufficiency And Responsibility

The organisational structure of a team is important. Who does what, how one job relates to another, the lines of reporting and communication – all affect effectiveness. This is something to continually re-assess. You should, therefore:

o Make sure that the structure you develop fits the tasks to be done.
o Implement any changes on a considered basis.
o Explain changes positively (they may be seen with suspicion).
o Keep the organisation under review to ensure you retain a good fit between it and what it must do (external as well as internal changes or pressures can affect this).
o Fine-tune as necessary with an eye on tasks, individuals and the team as a whole.

Any, even slight, incongruities about the way people are organised can easily dilute overall effectiveness. Do not change for change’s sake, but do not expect things to remain as they are forever without needing change.

Two Levels Of Self-Sufficiency

If you organise affairs so that people are suitably self-sufficient it saves time and promotes goodwill. Having responsibility is motivational – people tend to do best those tasks for which they have personal responsibility.

There are two distinct levels of self-sufficiency in how people work:

o Involvement. This can be created in various ways such as: consultation, giving information and making it clear that suggestions are welcome and that experiment and change in how things are done are good. This provides the opportunity to contribute beyond the base job.

o Empowerment. Empowerment adds the authority to be self-sufficient (making your own decisions) and creates the basis for people to become self-sufficient on an ongoing basis. In sense, empowerment creates a culture of involvement and gives it momentum

The Power Of Responsibility

Together, involvement and empowerment create an environment in which people can have responsibility for their own actions. But remember:

Responsibility cannot be given – it can only be taken; thus only the opportunity to take it can be given.

Creating a situation in which people do take responsibility for their work demands:
o Clear objectives (people knowing exactly what they must do and why).
o Good communications.
o Motivation (to show the desirability, for the individual as well as for the organisation, or taking responsibility).
o Trust (having created such a situation, you have to let people get on with things).

A team enjoying involvement in what they do, and having the authority to make decisions and get the job done, is the best recipe for successful management

A Management Catalyst
A successful team is one that:
o Is set up correctly.
o Responds to the responsibility it has for the task.
o Seeks constant improvement (and does not ever get stuck on the tramlines).
o Sees its manager as a fundamental support to its success.
A team in this situation will do well and is more likely to go on doing well than a group just told what to do. Your role is one of catalyst – constantly helping the team to keep up with events, to change in the light of events and to succeed because it is always configured for success.

By John Benson

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