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Should managers be keeping employees aligned and measured?

We’re socialised to look to leadership because we’ve spent our entire life being conditioned by patriarchy: someone else in our life that we think has more wisdom and insight than we do (parent and child, teacher and pupil, boss and worker etc.) In the workplace, as much as we may want to revert to this thinking, this is generally a fallacy (technical knowledge aside, but even the half-life of technical knowledge is rapidly shrinking). Employees themselves know more than they often get credit for. This is particularly true today when the pace of change is so fast and disruptive and those at the coalface see the impacts of this first.

Alignment is a non-issue when we leave top-down decision making behind.

Alignment is something the old paradigm has become used to as an “after the fact” issue: a decision, strategy or direction has been decided upon (by someone else) and now the challenge is to align people with that decision (after it has been made - after the fact). The new paradigm sees alignment should be a “before the fact” concern - i.e. that the employees should, wherever possible, have been involved in the decision. If that occurs, alignment is much less of a time-consuming problem.Management passing

Management passing judgment or ‘measuring’ employees is an unhelpful distraction from the real work of a team taking steps towards one vision.

In terms of measurement and feedback, whilst managers might have more experience, the idea that they’re collecting and interpreting data on employees free of bias and sentiment is inaccurate; evidenced time and again by studies that show the wild variations in reviews that occur when all that’s changed is the manager.

Also, if we were to suggest that perhaps the tables should turn and the employees should be the ones aligning and measuring and the managers only on the receiving end, how would we feel? Employees should be working for the vision and team, not their managers. And managers should be helping them bring it to life: they’re not special human beings with a greater monopoly on integrity and wisdom.

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  1. John Featherby

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