When too many decisions are pushed upwards in the organization, and the top layers of leadership complain about it, often in an almost victimized way, the problem usually lies at that top leadership. It’s simple. What people at the top say and what they do about it are disconnected.
You can blame processes and systems, decisions, rights, low empowerment or any other thing. If the behaviour persists it is because it is reinforced. And it is reinforced by dealing with it, but accepting it.
General Charles de Gaulle said that ‘the graveyards are full of indispensable men’. You could prevent the Leadership team and teams at the top from becoming graveyards.
I have met a CEO who carries with her a little spreadsheet with the salaries of the members of the Executive Committee. When a decision is questioned at the top table, and it needs to be dealt with, she asks: was this decision worth 3K or 4K etc? Harsh perhaps, but it makes the point.
Behaviours are perpetuated because they are reinforced. In this case, attention is the reinforcement. Complaining afterwards adds the little victim colour. The problem is at the top.
If the top wants to empower, it needs to make a list of usual decisions and lose control of some of them. One of them, once a month. The more control they lose, the more control they will have.
The greatest control is achieved when one does not have to control anything.
The ultimate goal of the leader is to lose control.
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