Politicians should be guided by the professional managers

Dear Editor,

Governance typically embodies the overarching set of policies, procedures, rules and systems which set the tone and direction governing the modus operandi of organizations.

Management, on the other hand, can be considered a sub-set or extension of governance, so that while they usually mirror and reinforce each other, that is not always the case; any dissonance on the part of the management cadre can and often does lead to the demise of the latter simply because of the superior structural ‘power’ of the former.

Interestingly, this ‘power’ is relatively ephemeral in that the electorate can periodically dis-empower the politicians in the same way that shareholders in private sector companies can remove directors of boards.

In contrast, the management cadre is typically subject-matter experts/career professionals enjoying relatively secure, permanent appointments based on what management guru, Tom Paterson, calls “sapiential authority’ which is rooted in their professional expertise.

Problems arise when the ‘politicos’ and the ‘professionals’ disrespect, transgress, usurp or undermine the respective roles of the other; worse still when the professional manager abandons his professionalism and curries the favour of the structural superior in pursuit of promotion, financial reward or in fear of victimization.

These inevitably result in unprofessional conduct and ineffective management to the detriment of the nation or corporation or service, as the case might be.

The ideal situation is for those with structural authority, like politicians, to respect and be guided by the sapiential authority inherent in the role of the experts and professional managers; the resultant homogeneity can only redound to the good of the relevant corporations and our nation.

Of course, implicit in the foregoing discussion is that the managerial positions are populated with well-endowed professional staff, a perception that might not be altogether true, hence the need for a human resource audit, concomitant reprofiling and any related staffing initiatives.

Yours faithfully,
Nowrang Persaud

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