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Managers: Be a force of proposal... and not just a force of execution !

Some managers focus on the operational aspects of their work, with little or no attention to considerations beyond the scope of what they are asked to do. They may enjoy a strong track record of laser sharp focus on certain tasks or activities, and display excellent achievements, but lack the perspective necessary to see the global picture which involves the need for renewal and innovation.

Confined in the regularity and in the daily grind of their work, some managers are satisfied with being a force of execution but neglect being a force of proposal and renewal. They are engulfed in the operational, with a desire to avoid as much as possible having to deal with strategic aspects and excel in delaying discussion on, or even ignoring, topics which can have a large impact on the company. These managers do not want to expose themselves to criticism and do not wish to find themselves at odds with top management. In some cases, they should be accompanied and trained to convince others to buy into new goals or targets, as they sometimes lack the posture suited to suggestions and engagement The extent of this finding varies depending on the context, but the phenomenon can seriously impact the company and cast a very dark shadow.

First of all, it is important to recognize that the personal development of managers is important to any business. Managers’ soft skills are critical to any organizational development strategy. It is crucial to know how to invest time and energy in supporting middle managers to avoid inefficiencies and entrapment in operational routine. This also makes it possible to ensure that managers fully play their role of promoting transformational will, while having the ability to unite employees around the dynamics of renewal. Managers are, of course, guarantors of this state of mind especially as they have the ability to impact employee mind set through positive contagion and by leading from the front. Managers limited to details and operational aspects guarantee that employees are similarly confined and lack the ability to innovate or propose.

The narrative of renewal attracts attention and excites individual and collective reflection. Company presentations, meetings and brainstorms are brimming with ideas and novelties, but very often lead to nothing as there is little to no follow up. Equity, engaging decision-making processes and leadership capabilities are clearly some of the prerequisites any organization should provide itself with to ensure that managers are in a dynamic of innovation. Environment and governance also matter: Having the best managers with the best skills and abilities is important, but if you place them in environments which exhaust their energies, consume their intent in the details, on the wrong problems, or in the unnecessary meetings, how can you expect them to be a force of proposal and renewal? It’s simply not realistic to expect innovation from a staid and conservative environment !

By Farid Yandouz


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