Requisite Organization Design Ensures Managers Can be Leaders
By Michelle Malay Carter on June 7, 2009
Although these various approaches may, in fact, provide some results, if your organization design is structurally flawed, even your most motivated, knowledgeable and well trained manager leaders will be rendered impotent.
Who is MacroManaging Our Organizations?
We need a dual approach.? One that focuses on individual development and one that has its focus on the system within which are leaders are working.? (By the way, this is executive leadership work, and in many organizations, it, i.e. strategic talent management and organization design,?appears to be missing or seriously misinformed.)
I said in a previous post that:? What we see in corporate world is akin to asking employees to be accountable for preventing disease when the organization refuses to install indoor plumbing or filter its contaminated well water.? Employees are working in polluted environments created by misinformed, piecemeal, dysfunctional people systems and organizational design, and we keep blaming them for showing symptoms of illness.
How Can We Design an Organization that Enables Leadership without “Fixing” Even One Employee?
We can enable leadership from managers, and consequently, give employees what they want and need in a manager by ensuring all managerial roles are located one work level above the role of their direct reports.? The design principle is really quite simple, but it requires becoming knowledgeable about work levels.
What Do Employees Want in a Manager??
Paraphrased from Ralph Rowbottom and Davis Billis’, Organisation Design, A Work Levels Approach, when employees encounter knotty problems, employees want (I say deserve) a manager who, by virtue of his/her position, has the authority to:
- help by altering the basic context of their work
- alter the whole system in some way
- operate a different set of signals and levers
- make available new types of resources
- initiate new trains of investigation or negotiation
And (here is the individual part), is personally cognitively capable to:
- see the world with a qualitatively different perspective
- overview the whole field of their activity
- provide them with some authoritative assessment of their performance from a higher standpoint
- set them going in new directions and head them off from others
Satisfying Leaders have A Higher Level Role and Matching Cognitive Capability – It’s All Relative to Me
In summary, employees will experience their manager as a leader when both the manager’s role and the manager’s cognitive capability fall into the next level higher than the employee.? Organization’s can design and screen for this.
I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.
Is your manager your leader?