- Despite the rhetoric of devolved leadership and courage to make independent decisions, individual suggestions or challenges to the top–down decisions are often dismissed.
- Existing top–down communication channels are not suited to provide adequate support to staff and speed up adaptation and learning.
- There is a split in the perceptions of the quality of leadership and management between ‘operational’ and ‘strategic’ parts of the business, which is indicative of the lack of communication and joint priorities between the more senior and the more junior managers.
- The decreasing average tenure of senior leaders means a new round of changes is sometimes brought in before the previous ones have settled.
- When implementing the fast-moving change agenda, managers don’t always have the buy-in themselves, which undermines their ability to gain trust and credibility from their staff.
What are organisations doing in practice?
- Removing managerial levels and allowing employees to operate within a collegiate structure
- Training individuals to take responsibility through small things at first
- Identifying good role models among senior managers who tackle the blame culture and encouraging them to speak courageously of the examples of challenging decisions made at the more senior level
- Using the mission command model to empower independent decisions
- Putting additional or expanded roles in place to oversee and facilitate internal information-sharing
- Planning ahead for change, involving the individuals affected in the change process, whenever possible, and genuinely showing that their contribution has been taken into account
- Identifying and supporting informal influencers within your organisation
- Setting up cross-functional teams on work-based projects, set around operational and organisational strategies
- Developing in-house training solutions that take into account the organisational need for leadership and are more responsive to ongoing change
- Investing in succession planning to close the gaps between strategy-focused senior leaders and operations led front-line managers
- Providing in-house mentors and coaches