Positive Political Skills at Work
If you expect that someone in a bureaucratic environment is going to empower you, you have put your hopes in a wrong place.
To be an object of empowerment, you have to become an independent manager and change the organization to suit your needs. In “The Empowered Manager,” Peter Block shows you how you can use positive politics, vision, and autonomy, to create an organization in which you would enjoy working.
In the summary below, we will briefly cover the same principles.
It is time you stopped waiting for empowerment.
Read on and seize it by yourself.
Who Should Read “The Empowered Manager”? and Why?
“The Empowered Manager” presents a strategy that managers can use to prevent the uncontrollable organizational forces from casting them aside. The author lists advice on opposing bureaucracy and hierarchy.
Usually, people react in a wrong way when faced with their problems, and as a result often feel frustrated and trapped.
We recommend this book to managers who need a helping hand in creating a working environment in which they will enjoy thriving in.
About Peter Block
Peter Block is a writer and an organizational development consultant, with a career in the field for more than 25 years.
“The Empowered Manager Summary”
Lately, empowerment has risen as a noteworthy organizational goal. However, only a couple of associations truly figure out how to use its energy. Organizations do not generally empower people and, truth be told, it might be outlandish for them to empower anybody.
Why is that?
Because empowerment suggests respect and freedom. And, albeit many organizations say that individuals come ﬁrst, few follow up on what they say.
Talking about empowerment without really empowering people works against corporate credibility and makes the idea of empowerment look like merely another management caprice.
Looking at it more profoundly, however, we have to admit that it is not that easy to empower others.
People need to claim their freedom and find dignity for themselves. If you are a supervisor, you can help by trying to be autonomous. First begin by shaping your vision, and afterward, create the organization and environment in which you wish to work.
Only if you are the first to set the example of empowerment in your practice, you can expect others to follow.
Before continuing, we need to get one thing straight: empowerment is not a management strategy.
It is a method for working, and to be fair; it is an extremely beneficial, productive way. However, just like any other thing, it also carries risk. There is an exchange between security and self-sufficiency.
To be free and self-sufficient takes fearlessness, regardless of your managerial position. The interesting thing about management is that even individuals at the top are actually in the middle.
What do we mean by that?
Well, even CEOs depend on those underneath them and answer to those above them – think of Wall Street financial specialists, a board of directors or a bigger corporate entity. Everybody faces the conﬂict between excelling and maintaining respectability and integrity. Or, in other words, everybody must struggle with bureaucracy, top managers included.
The problem in organizations is the shared mindset that for everything that happens someone else is responsible, and hence, if something goes wrong, another person is to blame.
Bureaucracy conflicts with empowerment. Actually, it is the complete opposite of strengthening.
However, there is a way to cure this bureaucratic disease!
It is simple – take the lead and reshape your organization. This implies choosing what your optimal association would be and what would it do, and after that living as though your vision could be true.
Key Lessons from “The Empowered Manager”:
1. Cycle of Bureaucracy
2. Cycle of Entrepreneurship
3. Shaping Your Vision
Cycle of Bureaucracy
- Patriarchy: This is a control-from-the-top step of organizational advancement.
- “Myopic self-interest”: Organizations connect the notion of success with vertical mobility through the corporate hierarchy so that managers’ ﬁnancial rewards increase along with their authority. This is an unproductive deﬁnition of success because it pushes employees to identify with the prizes they wish to receive, instead of doing work that matters.
- Manipulation: Manipulation implies making people do what you need them to do, without them knowing that you are controlling them. The conviction that manipulation opens the way to progress is ingrained to the point that when administrators say they are not manipulative, the public thinks they are camouflaging.
- Dependency: Dependent people trust that their destiny is in the hands of others.
Cycle of Entrepreneurship
- “Entrepreneurial contract”: This agreement sets up trust.
- “Enlightened self-interest” – Replace old-style self-interest with a new form of self-interest, which identiﬁes accomplishment with significant work and chances to learn, and not with prizes and power.
- Honest action – The entrepreneurial cycle prompts straight acting, direct communication, and sharing insight and power without manipulation.
- “Autonomy” replaces dependency: For self-sufficient and autonomous people, courage is the standard. You can assume liability for your behavior, practicing being alert just when exceptional conditions request it.
Shaping Your Vision
A dream is major. It plainly sets up what you esteem. Be unequivocal about your vision. Articulating it leaves no questions about the gap between the present organization and the future objective.
A clear proclamation of vision uncovers the future you want to accomplish, hence it will keep you on track while you are working on it.
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“The Empowered Manager” QuotesThe alternative to caution is to choose courage. In our culture, moving forward and creating an organization we believe in always requires an act of courage Click To Tweet Our acute awareness of the political moves of others, especially those above us in the organization, is in part an expression of our dependency. Click To Tweet The pressures, isolation, and competitiveness at the top drive people to worry much more about maintaining what they have, act with undue caution, and feel much more dependent than their position would seem to warrant. Click To Tweet Rebellion is as dependent an act as imitation. When I rebel, I am determined to do the opposite of what you expect of me. Click To Tweet The act of faith in choosing to live out a way of operating that we alone believe in gives real meaning to our work and our lives. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“The Empowered Manager” does not keep its focus from time to time, but in essence, its advice pushes for vision, autonomy, and self-awareness, and hence it is an excellent read for any manager.