Context matters III

When an employee makes a mistake due to a wrong decision he made, could it be due to his own misjudgment? Or his boss’ judgment of him? Or the lack of good context set by the bosses?

During my time in public service I recognised how important context-alignment was and we did it extremely frequently, and at all levels. Giving and exchanging contexts allowed us to function in highly coordinated ways that were lacking in many other governments.

As a junior officer, I was often frustrated because a lot of time were spent on such alignment. And practically everyone had to know many things at once even when it had not that much to do with you. Yet as I matured, I realise how important it was in helping one make strategic information and decide on myraid of matters which have seemingly nothing to do with one another.

The challenge is to try and match responsibilities with empowerment. Despite high amount of context provided, and people given loads of responsibilities, empowerment was kind of limited. People would still rather defer to bosses and managers keen on asserting their views top-down. Context was used to seek buy-in to get the ground to do more work rather than a source of empowerment for decentralised decision-making.

Or maybe that is the next step we have to get to. But for now, we have to deal with a culture where context is said to matter, but control even more.