The move to apposition of responsibility and decision making seems to entail crossing over an invisible line that marks the manager as “other”. Where conversations and support were once the norm, colleagues now stand back and wait to see what actions the manager will take. Even in the most supportive contexts, managers recognize in their discussions that it is “lonely at the top”.
Mangers recognize as well that developing a strong administrative team only partly meets their needs. Although the team may be a highly competent and confidential one, some problems and some solutions are not really appropriate for them to handle. In the highly competitive environments of senior and middle management, peers may be supportive but not always. Often they are competitors and all too often problems are seen as a sign of weakness.
Some managers are fortunate enough to have a friend or family member who is knowledgeable about management issues and is also a strategist. These individuals are also able to separate their support for the persons from the issue at hand. They are rare in the lives of most managers.
Recognising that isolation is detrimental many organizations try to set in place mentoring schemes, management programs, etc. However their effectiveness may be limited by the individual’s perceived need for strict confidentiality. Although organizations strive for collaboration the impact of politics and competition are major values and stumbling blocks. All too often, managers feel the need to protect their backs and one way to do this is to not divulge their concerns and problems.
For these reasons and others, the “Running Mate Program” has been developed. Unlike mentors who provide support for employees to advance in the organization, Running Mates are those who help set and keep the pace. They are there for support, encouragement and the extra energy needed to meet challenges and obstacles. The purpose of the program is to address the isolation of managers through one on one dialogues with a consultant whose extensive experience as a senior manager qualifies her as a confidante and an organizational strategist. Her recent work in applying research on leadership to the restructured organization and its demands on managers ensures support for new ways of thinking and leading.
The consultation will provide you with the opportunity to
– explore your unique understanding of power and authority
– provide a strictly confidential relationship in which you design your strategies and solutions
– develop a personal professional plan to enhance your leadership
– assess your conversational style in order to have greater impact in meetings