Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

Organizational Consultation XXX: Leadership and the Appreciative Perspective

Furthermore, American vigilance and weaponry make considerable sense. Yet, as one examines the life of Saddam and Putin, as well as the history of their countries and region, many of their dreams begin to make some sense in terms of their passionate hold on both men (if not the practical realization of these dreams). Conversely, the strategies that are formulated and actions that are taken by the American government begin to seem more chaotic and inappropriate. It is not unusual for one part or level of a system to begin to look increasingly chaotic or arbitrary precisely at the point when another part or level of the system becomes clearer and more purposeful.

Leading In Order and Chaos

We can look at the behavior of almost any corporate or governmental executive to discover both chaos and order in 21st Century leadership. The manager of a large Western city government, for instance, recently prepared a plan for decentralization and a performance management system that encourages broad-based participation and consensus-based decision-making. The men and women who work under this city manager were encouraged to introduce this new plan and system to their subordinates in a timely manner. These efforts are certainly consistent with the appreciative trend toward collaboration and teamwork. They exemplify a thoughtful and orderly process of change. Yet, according to one of this city manager’s subordinates, the process, as actually enacted, was chaotic and counterproductive:

The idea was a good idea, on paper. It was a change strategy encouraging less authority from the boss and more delegated accountability/participation within the lower rank management team. Consistent reporting loops would keep top management informed but not involved with every minute decision. It was breaking down the number of people (to smaller size) involved in making the decision. The system was attempting to be [appreciative]. The problem with the system became apparent when managers, top to bottom, did not trust each other to model, report, and consequently carry out the service to the citizen. They did not know how and the frustration became modus operandi for staff.

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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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