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The Development of Other Human Beings Published: Sunday, April 8, 2001 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

A central point for the organizational leader is the development of other people. This practice is fundamental for achieving the purpose of enhancing organizational capability, especially during times of discontinuities, transitions and transformations. How else can a vision and a strategy be implemented except by human beings taking initiative?

Power stems from the belief that a person can take actions that will alter the external environment. To develop and sustain that belief is to potentialize people. My appreciated teacher and friend Albert Bandura, noted for his extraordinary work on beliefs and power, among other contributions, instructed us about four means of empowering others. (1) Through positive emotional support during experiences associated with stress and anxiety. (2) Through words of encouragement and positive persuasion. (3) By offering models of success with whom people can identify. (4) By providing the opportunity for successful completion of a task.

With these four tactics the internal organizational leader can start potentializing others. No manager, executive, supervisor or leader can afford to under estimate their importance. In fact, a strong case has been made for the idea that, when the computer ultimately undetermines the hierarchical organization as we know it today, the mayor responsibility of managers will be that of developing other human beings. Precisely, because this was not fully done in another epoch, organizations had great difficulties with deploying efforts of career passages and succession planning. But in the information and knowledge age, experts ask the following pedagogical question: what is required of managers and professionals in the emerging workplace? The researched answer is that what is needed is communication skills, capacity for sharing meaning through inquiry and dialogue, and engendering learning, in contrast to an earlier emphasis on contractual relationships or the authority derived from a function and position.

Developing others is increasingly being seen as a key component of effective leadership. The sense of empowerment among employees yields the following results: people feel significant, learning and merit matter, people are part of a community and working is exciting.

The key vehicles for development are the profound educational programs and challenging work assignments. The ticklish task is to stretch the individual potential and yet be reasonably sure that the person can succeed, or if failure occurs (which should not happen frequently), to make sure that the final outcome is learning, not punishment. As Edward W. Deming stated many times, fear of failure should never be a reason not to do something. As individuals develop, the level of supervision and guidance they will require for successful completion of a task declines.

It is necessary that everybody go beyond their daily grind of work to think, discuss, write or speak out on issues and methods that will make it easier for our successors to continue a tradition of service to our organizations and communities. Of course, you will encounter some people that don`t really want to work hard. Even with them, take a moment to share some value-adding insights and persuade them not to achieve the goal of dying well rested.

 


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