Psychology of Performance – 27 Managers’ Accountability for Systems

Elliott Jaques defined the accountability of a manager as the person responsible for providing adequate systems for the supervisors and front line employees to be able to do their job to the best of their ability. Everyday, we get to consult, weigh in, design, or support employees who work with incompatible systems: data bases that do not talk to each other and require work arounds, work flows that bog down due to contraints that bottle-neck the work flow, and individuals who hoard information and dole it out sparingly as examples.

The cost to the organization and the individual employees is significant. The costs are incurred in increased payroll, individual psychological and physical distress, turnover, absenteeism, or apathy and indifference.

Often, the organization either: has not done adequate captial allocation planning for operations systems at the facility, plant, or hardware/software levels; has “done it this way for so long” that managers and employees have forgotten (usually due to banging their head against wall too many times in frustration) to question their assumptions on a regular basis; or the manager does not have the cognitive complexity (strata 3 or above in Jaques’ model) to be able to think systemically as well as other factors beyond the scope of this blog.

Dan Segal defined a system as an integrated flow of information and energy. How are your systems functioning? If not optimally, what and when are you going to do something about it so your organizational and individual employee performance is improved?

Have a day filled with integration,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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