Human interaction…a key principle in “Participatory Management”
Reading a newsletter sent from our friend and expert in business consulting Philip Levy.
Decisional process, authority, delegating power, empowerment… all under one umbrella: “Participatory Management”.
Food for thoughts and ready for a more extensive discussion during the upcoming YEX seminar on this topic. Stay tuned
“What is Participatory Management?”
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Albert Einstein
Clearly Einstein was prescient. While he could not foresee entirely the technology explosion, he understood the power of human interaction and effective communication. Nowhere is this more important today than in leading a company. Einstein’s vision reinforces the importance of leaders and managers effectively engaging and communicating with staff in building strong teams, and forming strong bonds between employees and their companies, where employees feel respected, cared for, valued, empowered, and committed to the future of the company. Effective and purposeful communication contributes to this essential bond between the leadership of a company and its stakeholders, especially employees. Ultimately, this bond becomes one of the greatest predictors of success.
My model of “Participatory Management” is built upon this very quality of human interaction which Einstein envisioned; where employees are participants in the decision making process, where their thoughts and ideas are valued, and where risk taking in the name of creativity and forward thinking is encouraged and supported.
In working with clients, I have noticed that there can be confusion regarding what “Participatory Management” is and is not. Many times I have had an executive say “Phil, why would I want to cede my authority and power when I am ultimately held responsible?” The answer is you would not, but this model does not encourage that.
First and foremost, in order to grow a company, you must nurture leaders who are independent thinkers, who view themselves as “stakeholders” in the success of the company. This can only be achieved when top management allows for consistent input to the decision making process. But input does not mean giving up your power or authority. The final decision is always yours! But the support you will receive, the increase in motivation and morale and the professional development of future leaders will come from stakeholders being, and feeling, heard and their input valued. Isn’t it more powerful when the ideas that are ultimately adopted have come up from the ranks rather than imposed from the top? And, you will more likely hear innovative ideas from individuals who are invested in making your company a great success!
The art of management and leadership is to create an environment that nurtures this kind of participation. It conveys respect and empowerment and reflects a leader who is confident enough not to fear the loss of control, but rather one who understands that sharing increases the likelihood of creating greater ownership and commitment to the success of the company. Leading only from the top leaves many lonely disenfranchised people at the bottom and many leaders feeling unappreciated and isolated.