Re: Being Totally Responsible LO3818

Martin Charles Raff (
Thu, 23 Nov 1995 10:32:09

Replying to LO3812 --

Ivan Blanco said:

> The systems and
>processes in place have to changed for people to really accept and desire
>that responsibility!

I very much agree with Ivan. The systems and processes for people
management in an organisation have to be changed - abolishing
individual performance targets and bonuses, one to one appraisal
reviews,and other techniques which assume employeees will not work
effectively unless bribed and threatened. As Ivan says - people
need to desire responsibility. But I think the starting point in
dealing with the issue of "how do you get people to take
responsibility" is the boss/employee relationship.

The traditional "command and control" model of leadership has
created employees who (at work) are dependent and want to be told
what to do. Organisations have valued as the most important
qualities like "loyalty" and "carrying out company policy and
instructions". Questioning the assumptions of those in authority is
regarded as disruptive and disloyal.

Command and control leaders and their dependent subordinates
reinforce - like sadists and masochists - each others behaviour. And
people who who behave dependently in the relationship with their
boss, will in turn expect dependency when dealing with their own
subordinates. In order to change the relationship into that of
interdependent adults, one of the parties will have to start by
changing their behaviour. It can be effective (but risky)for the
employee to start this process, better if the boss starts.

Role models of the new behaviours are useful to use - either within
the organisation or in other organisations, or in history or
fiction. (I am sure Jane Austen will have a good quote. I will have
a look.)

Another route to new behaviours is to give real resposibility to
teams. My experience is that, in a dependent culture, teams can be
more ready to take responsibility than individuals. People can
learn responsible behaviours within the team and then carry them
forward to their one to one working relationships when they feel

The processes used in Real Time Stratgic Change (discussed on meetings aim to enable the people present to take
responsibility for the meeting's work and outcomes. Another good way
of starting new behaviours.

I found, when I led change in a large organisation, that most
people, once they feel really confident that leaders want to share
resonsibility, enjoy taking it.

Martin Raff
VISTA Consulting  - for a better future
phone and fax: +44-1789 840418