Trust them to figure it out

The more demanding the agenda for change, the more savage the budget cuts, the more emphases on performance the greater the management emphasis on conformity. When senior managers feel the pressure their tolerance for dissent diminishes, questioning the methods is not acceptable, their is no room for doubt therefore no place for debate. The management mantra is,"do what I say". People with the right attitude are recruited and prompted, that is people who follow instructions with enthusiasm and commitment. As performance dips, big budget holes appear and the slide towards special measures seems all the more inevitable the tendency to micro manage becomes irresistible. The management casualties pile up. A new regime is installed, new methods, different strategy and a requirement for people with the right attitude. Often there is some short term success, everyone wants to get out of special measures some additional resources would be helpful. Inevitably the old inconsistencies in performance return. The senior management turn over doesn't help, it's difficult to build for the future if the average chief executive tenure is 18 months! 

 Managers want people who do what they are told but organisations need people who use their initiative. 

 Micro management is an understandable response to job insecurity at the top, the demand for instant results and unrealistic or over ambitious targets. Micro management works in the short term because it is quicker to train (intimidate) people to obey than to think but in the long term you need people to use their initiative to be able to respond to changing and often unanticipated circumstances without constantly managing up. The new management mantra is stability, development and planning for the future. In stead of "do what I say " , it is "think for your self". 

This requires senior managers to treat their employees at every level (staff and managers) as intelligent, encourage them to think for themselves and trust them to figure it out. 

Blair Mcpherson former director, author and blogger 

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