In a previous blog, we proposed the concept of shared management which splits people management responsibilities in different ways. This recognizes the impossibility, in today’s changed world, of simple hierarchies composed of line managers directing the work of small teams and looking after the people management processes; rather it treats people management as a shared process. The reality of the workplace has, for some time, been moving in this direction. However, because thinking has not kept pace, the result is that we find in many organizations systems and processes that pull people in different directions.
So, how can shared management be implemented and work effectively?
Firstly, we must recognize that ‘command and control’ management is no longer possible and instead it is ‘shared values, shared visions, and shared understanding’ that drive organizations forward. This new model starts with the ‘faraway leaders’ of the business, who must be visible, maintain a high level of communication and set both the strategic direction and the cultural tone, (the what and the why) but leave their teams to work out the how.
“The word ‘shared’ emphasizes the importance of conversations, relationships and networking. It does not require everyone to do things in the same way, but rather for everything they do to be consistent, mutually supportive, and transparent.
Secondly, we must split the responsibilities for performance, results and development across different ‘nearby managers.’ The imperative is to designate to everyone a ‘facilitator,’ who supports them in synthesising performance feedback, and ensuring they receive appropriate opportunity and development.
The ‘facilitator’ may not have responsibility for the business results the individual must achieve. These rest with the line manager or the different team or project leaders with whom the individual works.
They are not required to be experts in handling disciplinary or performance problems, but must recognize when these arise, and seek advice. Any coaching or mentoring roles are handled by others. ‘Facilitators’ are responsible for two, maximum three and are on a higher grade. The role is prestigious and on an upwards career path.
Shared management creates opportunity, enhances skills and fills the ‘feedback vacuum.’