Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

maria-padley's picture

Priority development of trusted lieutenants

By Maria Padley on June 5, 2022

If an unwillingness to delegate authority is one of the major barriers to adaptability, how can we break this down?  My suggestion absolutely draws on what other people have said about empowerment, but for this particular problem I believe the answer is a focus on the development of the second tier of management.  The aim is to give each current "control freak" a small number of trusted lieutentants to whom they feel they can delegate some of their authority.  These people need not only the management skills to make the decisions, but the leadership development (usually reserved for the very top tier of management) to make them comfortable taking on that authority without constantly checking back with the boss, and the strength to insist that they can and should be trusted with that level of decision-making.

I would never argue the need for development and empowerment right the way across an organisation, but if the people at the top have trouble delegating, they are not going to be comfortable with major decisions being made more than one level below them.  Maybe this is a first baby step towards greater adaptability, but in many cases, I think it is a necessary one.

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