Commitment helps in overcoming common management predicaments
By Humphrey Mokaya
Managers have, since time immemorial, been regarded as an honored set of individuals who provide leadership, vision, direction and indeed crystalize the collective aspirations of organizations. This broad conceptualization of managers simultaneously depicts them as thinkers, pace setters and problem solvers. Managers are hence located at a pedestal in the scheme of organizational development and growth. Peculiarly though, this is mostly in crystal-clear variance with the personal imperfections and corresponding struggles that they contend with on a daily basis. This paradox provides a fascinating area of study in management, which is hereby labeled ‘managerial predicaments’. There are four such predicaments namely; capacity predicament, career predicament, ethical and moral predicament and finally, more educated but less knowledgeable predicament. This week’s article from the Directors Desk explores the diverse dimensions of this predicament and its implications for organizations. This week explores two of them; capacity and career predicaments.
Think of a doctor attending to a patient with symptoms that indicate a convergence of both malaria and typhoid. Whereas the symptoms may appear quite similar in terms of how the patient articulates and presents his aches and pains, the doctor must isolate the causal pathogens in order to prescribe the correct treatment: a predicament of sorts.
Again, visualize when safari rally drivers compete to clinch medals. They traverse rough, tempestuous and unpredictable topographies and terrains. Even in the backdrop of adequate prior knowledge of the safari rally route, the drivers must still discover an appropriate balance between the human body, mental will and agility, machine acuity, team dynamics and sometimes unpredictable forces of nature in order for them to excel: a predicament of sorts again.
It all boils down to management. Managerial predicament is defined as the odd nexus between the manager’s organizational position, social stature, societal expectations, public beliefs and the individual’s idiosyncrasies that one has to navigate both in public and private spheres of life.
There are four types of managerial predicament in the public service. It is vital to point out here that the predicaments discussed relate to the individual manager and not to systemic or structural challenges in organizations. Success in organizations both in public and private sector is largely determined by the capability of the leaders to navigate the predicaments.
Capacity predicament presents itself in the form of high level policy and strategic impetus that the manager must not only articulate and espouse but also cascade to the lowermost of echelons in the organization. This predicament occurs when the manager is fundamentally inept and incapable of appropriately conceiving strategy and policy due to innate inabilities, lack of knowledge, a-know-it all attitude or lack of purpose and drive.
In many instances the capacity predicament is a pointer to a dysfunction in the recruitment process which culminates in the hire of managers who ultimately find themselves trapped in the unfamiliar ‘quagmire’ of policy and strategy. The capacity predicament becomes a living nightmare for these managers because they are forced to contend with young, savvy, highly polished and confident officers who seem to effortlessly swim in strategy and policy!
It is a predicament that makes some managers feel insecure resulting in narcissistic tendencies and behaviour which create an unconducive, toxic organizational atmosphere. It is a predicament that the manager must, on one hand, come to terms with by admitting that either this job is not the right one for him or he forever remains marooned in the nightmare of incapacity. The manager could, on the other hand, masterfully empower the younger officers to perform their work without undue interference and thereby prudently gloat in the success of his lieutenants as their team leader.
The capacity predicament, if authentically and ingeniously handled, could likewise enable the manager to grow. One could do this by being an adept listener and by undertaking personal study. All in all, this calls for individual self-discovery, dogged determination and genuine conviction on the part of the individual manager to unlock the predicament.
After a few years on the job as a manager, there might come a time when one feels they have stopped growing in their role and are stagnating. This predominantly happens when the manager has served in one position for a long time without corresponding challenging duties and responsibilities. To counter this career fatigue, the manager needs to take up more responsibility or undertake new initiatives to make the existing role more exciting.
If that is not a possibility, it might be time to consider taking up another role in the organization or apply for a new job elsewhere. The manager needs to figure out what skills would be needed for that role and then create a plan for building them. It would also be helpful to sign up for tailor made programs that accord managers new perspectives, dimensions and facets of doing business or emerging best practices in the international arena.
The other managerial predicaments will be analyzed in the next week’s Bulletin.
Wambora: Entrepreneurship is our focus
By Samwel Kumba
Embu Governor, Martin Wambora, has urged the School to aim at establishing a centre for Educational Tourism, especially in as far as adult learning is concerned.
The Governor said the School is better placed for this assignment given that it is the only legally authorized and accredited institution to train government officers and as such it should aim to lead in the sector. “I am proud that we are partners with the School. Although we occasionally get our officers trained at the Lower Kabete premises in Nairobi, Embu Campus here is our natural home,” said Mr. Wambora.
The Governor announced that the County Government is planning to mount an investor’s conference and has requested the School to host it in Embu Campus. He revealed that the County has deliberately decided to invest in creating entrepreneurs with the understanding that such entrepreneurs will create the much needed employment for the youth. “We are thinking of consolidating all the available funds for the youth, women and people with disabilities in the County so as to boost the kitty from which potential entrepreneurs can draw,” said the Embu Governor.
Mr. Wambora was meeting investors drawn from Embu with whom they shared ideas on how to widen the investment scope.
Most of the investors expressed their interest to work with the County Government however appealed for eased investment and business regulations.
The Director Academic Affairs, Dr. Leah Munyao, who welcomed the Governor to the Campus flanked by the Campus Director Dr. Josephine Mwanzia, lauded the cordial relationship that the School enjoys with the Embu County.
Dr. Munyao noted that the School is determined to train the County Government officials for them to offer exemplary service to the residents.
KSG leads in graft fight
By Samwel Kumba
The Kenya School of Government prides itself as a leader in championing the fight against corruption having moved into the prevention and deterrent level of the vice. The School’s Director General, Dr. Ludeki Chweya, termed the move worth a celebration. “I challenge the School’s Integrity Assurance Officers to maintain the standard such that were there a survey to be conducted, KSG would lead the State Corporations’ no corruption list,” said the Director General.
Reiterating that the School had no option but to lead in the fight against graft, Dr. Chweya encouraged the Integrity Officers to believe in the course and drive the rest of the staff in that direction saying they are not just ordinary officers.
Embu Campus Director, Dr. Josephine Mwanzia, was glad that the School is already past corruption eradication target and is now at the deterrent level. “Embu Campus fully supports the work plan of the Integrity Officers. You need to baptize everyone with the work that you do. Share your vision and let us all join the corruption prevention race,” said Dr. Mwanzia.
These remarks were shared during the culmination of a three-day KSG annual Integrity Assurance Officers meeting, which is a mandatory requirement committed to by the School under the Corruption Eradication Indicator in the Performance Contract for Financial Year 2017/2018.
The said indicator seeks to combat and prevent corruption, unethical practices, and promote standards and best practices in governance. It is in line with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Act no. 22 of 2011 and the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012. In adherence to these Acts, KSG undertook, during the FY 2017/2018, to implement recommendations of corruption perception Index report in conjunction with EACC, improve the corruption perception index as per the baseline survey conducted by EACC besides implementing the internal mechanisms that encourage and protect whistle blowing on corruption and unethical conduct.
At the end of the meeting, which was held in Embu Campus, the Integrity Officer’s Champion, Ms. Angela Mukiri led the team in developing an action plan and a way forward and an implementation matrix.
She lauded the Integrity Officers for their continued support and contribution, encouraging them to maintain the spirit of corruption prevention at the School. Following good performance by the officers, the School organized a cocktail party which was graced by the School’s Director General, Director Finance and Administration Dr. Nura Mohamed and Director Embu Campus.
Valentine’s Day celebration with remand home children
By Ephline Okoth and Wilson Chege
Kenya School of Government employees, at Lower Kabete, cherished the spirit of the world wide celebrated Valentine’s Day by visiting the Nairobi Children's Remand Centre. Marked as a day of love, the employees resorted to share the afternoon with the children who adorn inconceivable smiles whenever they host promising visitors to the Centre, a place they call home.
The visit was organized by the School’s Events Management Committee, chaired by Emily Muchele not only as a Corporate Social Responsibility, but as a way to share the day of love and put a smile on the children’s faces, promising a hopeful future. The School purchased various food items to the Centre.
The Manager of the Remand Home, Mr. Daniel Njama, briefed the visitors of the history which hosts children between 7 and 17 years, either in conflict with the law, are found loitering in the streets or who escape from their homes due to family related issues. The home which has a capacity of 150 children had 49 children at the point of the visit. During the visit, the staff members were able to mingle with the children in groups of females and males, in forums that were meant to give the children hope and encouragement. Stories and biting snacks were shared at the joyful forum.
Mr. Njama appreciated the support by the School through donations and visits, encouraging more visits in future.
Earlier, members of staff had converged for the 10.00 o’clock tea, innovatively adorning red attire in the likes of ties, scarfs, official shirts, skirts, shoes and belts to also mark the Valentine’s Day.
The Deputy Director Learning and Development, Mr. Andrew Rori, who joined the staff members for tea commended the activity, rooting for improvement in motivation and cohesion activities among staff.
He appreciated the efforts of the Events Committee and appealed to the team to continuously organize events that enhance integration.