Blame managers

Management has the greatest impact on the productivity and service in an organisation. After all, that’s their job!

So any observation or criticism of employee productivity is a direct reflection on the management of the organisation. Herein lies a major problem in Barbados — we lack effective management. By this I mean:

Our systems of management are extremely poor. We do not have proper performance targets and very rarely hold our managers fully to account. I have come across too many companies which have employee evaluation systems but where managers are exempt. An integral element in all of this is the lack of information to make informed unbiased decisions.

Our managers are poorly trained. We have too many technical people assuming management positions with little formal training in management. Engineers expect tolerances in millimetres whilst accountants expect everything to balance. Humans do not respond in the same way and need other “non-technical” elements such as respect, understanding, encouragement, etc.

I believe we need to hold our management more accountable for its responsibilities. And don’t get me wrong, these are significant — and more reason why this accountability is so important. Whether at the level of Cabinet or in managing public corporations or even in private entities, we simply cannot accept that an organisation is failing to perform and accept it. We are currently witnessing a degradation of service and performance across the board which has resulted in our lack of international competitiveness.

What can we do? Perhaps at the very least we should know what our performance objectives are. We shouldn’t have to wait for Travelocity, or some other ad hoc entity, to tell us we are moving too slow. By then it’s too late. Let us establish what we want and then let’s publish these objectives and our actual results. Or will this embarrass our senior management: “Cuh Dear, you can’t do that to him — he’s such a nice man”.

— Chris de Caires

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