This book offers the middle-aged middle manager a strategy for surging ahead instead of sinking in an ocean of uncontrollable organizational forces. Author Peter Block provides strategies for countering the negative effects of being enmeshed in hierarchy and bureaucracy. Reactions to that experience, especially fear, lead to bureaucratic management styles that leave everyone in the company - sometimes even the CEO - feeling trapped and frustrated. The book wanders around and bogs down here and there, but getAbstract finds that its advice - which strongly pushes self-awareness, vision and autonomy in the service of others - could muster middle management’s entrepreneurial spirit.
The Truth about Empowerment
In recent years, empowerment has emerged as a major organizational objective. Yet few organizations really manage to harness its power. Organizations do not really empower people and, in fact, it may be impossible for them to empower anyone. Why? Empowerment implies freedom and respect. Although many companies say that people come first, few act on what they say. Paying lip service to empowerment without actually empowering people undermines corporate credibility and makes the whole idea of empowerment just another management fad.
In a deeper sense, though, it is impossible to "empower others." People have to claim their own freedom, and find dignity and srespect for themselves. As a manager, you can help by acting autonomously. First form your own vision, and then create the organization in which you want to work. Only when you set the example of empowerment by living it can you expect anyone else to follow.
Empowerment is not a management technique. It is a way of working, in fact, a very productive, effective way - but it does carry a risk. There is a trade-off between security and autonomy. To be free and autonomous takes courage...