The Author: Sarjo Bayang
Those leaders and managers who take undue advantage of their position giving favour to some while marginalising others by no account of merit end up failing. That is done because such leaders want to get strong through closing ranks with those they belong in the same camp.
They provide every incentive to curry support. Institutions and whole government keep operating without recourse to systematic dispensation in line with dictates of best practice policy provisions and procedures. How can the people stop strong leaders destroying the economy with iron fist grabbing hands?
Clear Line of Separation between Public Office and the Occupier
When occupiers of paid jobs fail to respect the clear boundary that separates them from that position, they often flaw rules and regulations thereby causing great harm. That is more damaging with occupiers of public positions including top level political post holders who behave as though they are above all laws.
At the time of looking for the job, the potential post holder conforms to best appealing good behaviour with promise to keep all required standards. Soon after getting the job, they turn not only the coat but also change the colour everyone thereby causing disgrace and disappointment.
Culture of Fear that Autocratic Leaders Impose
Pulling the economic string to which everyone connects makes some leaders feel too much about their personal power command.
With people in political high position their power to hire and fire imposes an atmosphere of more fear than being liked. Economic favour associated with being hired by the person in high political command tends to be played in less pleasant tune. Everyone keeps dancing to the tune even when they don’t find it nice enough.
Running the political high office as that of fire and hire station requires rethinking. Even where the person in highest political office has mandate to hire and fire, abusing it can be antisocial while good laws of the land conveniently permit it.
To ensure monopoly and with heavy hand, autocratic leaders operate without consultation. They decide alone and refuse seeking advice. In what appears as window dressing situation, autocratic leaders are seen with people around them that many tend to mistake for a functioning team. That is normally a make-up.
Some of those people are only putting up faces. Deep down their mind, they remain in fear. Not knowing who becomes the next victim, there is often a race for personal recognition. Often that extends to bad mouthing others.
Autocratic leaders tend to neglect their proper duty of serving people. They expect to be served instead. Anyone who dares telling such leaders the truth does so at personal risk of job loss or being marginalised. Such situations are unhealthy and can be counterproductive.
Personalisation of Institutions and Institutionalisation of Personalities
Due to fear and lack of understanding, some leaders encourage personality cult by extensive extremes beyond norms. Institutions become personalised and personalities institutionalised.
In practice, leaders or managers take to clouds by expecting to be treated as though commanding ownership over the establishment that employs them. Not only that they assume undue ownership of the establishment, it appears they are one and same entity with the institution. That turns into individual leader or manager being perceived as an embodiment of the institution.
Practical example of personalities being perceived as the institution can be seen in situations where calling the job holder by their personal name sounds offensive. You have to call them Chief, Manager, President, Leader, and other lofty titles. Not addressing the manager or leader with their new earned title amounts to disrespect.
While it falls on good grounds to address job holders by their fine titles, the extent of personalising institutions and institutionalising personalities tilts towards extreme abnormalities.
Preventing Personal Grip on Power
Individual occupiers of public position be that governmental or public enterprise must be prevented from excessive misconduct. Curtailing their grip on power can be done best from the beginning.
Modesty is perhaps the super drug that every leader need taking good dose of. When leaders don’t meet high expectations of best practice standard conduct in public position, they eventually become unsuitable for the role.
When managers or leaders fall below expected standard in best practice conduct, public trust diminishes over time. Performance levels also drop along with potential good image the position attracts.
Ways to curb highhanded misconduct in public position can be done in by several control mechanisms.
To ensure there is little or no room for abuse and excesses, preventive barriers need putting in place at very beginning. That requires solid pillars for building strong institutions and management standards in best practice dispensation.
Institution Building and Organisational Development
Good policy formulation is instrumental for effective institution building and organisational development. Robust policy provision prescribes best practice standard operation.
Absence of effective policy instruments opens the situation to arbitrary conduct, abuse and excesses by public position occupiers especially those at the top.
Organisations, institutions and governments cannot be left to operate by whims and caprices of those leading as managers or presidents. They require operating instruments for best practice orderly dispensation. Putting aside what the policy says eventually leads to abuse.
Protocol has to be observed in line with procedures and stipulated policy provisions. It makes the job easier. Just as in the use of strong walking stick, those that fail to keep theirs with proper grips may suffer a fall in due course.
Policy instruments are provided to guide every conduct at work. If it is good for middle and lower level employees, those at the top need the same for their best preferred conduct.
It is no good to formulate nicely worded policy and procedures when they will not be put to best use.
The public has every right to know what policy instruments are provided that guide conduct of public position occupiers in all institutions, organisations and government.
When seeking public office politicians hardly talk about policy in any serious language. That is how abuse and excesses breed.
With effective policy instruments formulated to ensure best practice good governance and general management, curbing abusive conduct and excesses can be achieved where needed most.
People need strong institutions raised on solid pillars of robust policy framework for effective management and good governance. We don’t hear politicians talking about that and now the moment for frank dialogue arises. Let the talk about effective policy instruments top the agenda next time good governance is mentioned.
Without strong institutions, abuse of public office by strong leaders will lead to a situation of weak and sick economy nobody wants. Happy New Year to you all.