2024-06-13

By Stevie Kauka…….

Have we ever wondered why organizations go into oblivion when all the structures are in place.?

Without wasting time one of the issues that comes to mind is that the leaders were not visible enough to inspire confidence in the subordinates or followers, maybe they were too busy in the boardrooms and in their air-conditioned offices and therefore lost touch with the reality.

The events of the last few years should leave no one in any doubt that we live in turbulent times. ‘Business as usual’ is an increasingly rare state for most organizations. In Malawi politicians have realized that business as usual will not take the country anywhere hence they have decided that it will be “business unusual “approach to issues.

Recently Malawi has faced a 44 percent devaluation which the country is struggling to cope up with.

If the politicians have realized that it is important to do business unusual what about the organizations or any entity what about companies.

It is always a good thing to be associated with success, once people don’t feel safe, they jump ship. When Malawi the flames lose a game people distance themselves from the team this is the same to political parties. In political parties when they see there is no vision or leadership that is visible members will defect to where they feel their ideologies align well
But what is visible leadership?

Visible Leadership is the commitment of leaders to a culture of quality that aligns performance management practices with the organization’s mission, regularly takes into account customer feedback, and enables transparency about performance between leadership and staff or followers.​

VISIBLE leadership motivates the staff, followers, take the example of the factory when a manager leaves his comfort zone (air-conditioned office being served by smartly elegant assistants) to go to the factory at the end of the shift and help sweeping all the debris from the work station, what a smile would be on the floor guy.

However, bear in mind that when you start being visible floor guys will be suspicious of your motive and may think you want to hammer people, but run them through that you want to understand the issues with which people were struggling, to see what processes works .

It is precisely at these times that leaders earn their money – through their competent visible leadership.
Visible leadership includes three key components: setting a vision, actively discussing the change, and knowing the impact.

Setting a clear vision for leadership

The first job for a leader who wants to visibly and proactively drive change is to create a crystal- clear vision of what the future will look like for the employees or followers and then communicate it with passion. Leaders do this by walking employees through the status quo or “the current way things are done around here” to the desired state of where the organization wants to be once the change happens.

Change leaders build a powerful case for the change, then work relentlessly to generate understanding and consensus. Visible leaders make sure they are there all the time for their people

Actively discussing the business change

Change leaders don’t just wave a magic wand and then hide out until the change is done. Visible leadership means the change leaders are out there talking about the change, adjusting their own behaviors to align with the change strategy, and actively addressing concerns voiced by employees or followers.

It is not only about manifestos or paper policies but leaders or Managers should be seen to practice and implement what is contained in those nice documents.

Knowing the impact of change in a business

During change, visible leadership focuses on helping to identify negative reactions and barriers and knocking them down one by one. Common barriers to change may come from fear — fear of losing control, losing status, diminished compensation, loss of job security, or being asked to take on a bigger workload. Visible leaders help to align agendas and balance interests to reduce concerns and conflicts.

It is in this vein that Visible Leadership Make Business Change Successful

Christina Tangora Schlachter and Terry H. Hildebrandt, have said that Leaders without visible leadership have no clue in what they are doing and they often fail ;They do nothing and just hope it all works out they manage it without a project plan from a cubicle or corner office. They lead the change with words and actions that support the future state but nothing changes.

However, it is imperative to note that; successfully led changes, with strong visible leadership will result in shorter project timelines, widespread ownership of the change, and an organization or entity or a country ready to take on future challenges.

In order to establish a long-lasting and sustainable performance management system at any organization, the senior management must commit to a culture that aligns PM practices with the organization’s mission. Leaders must regularly take customer feedback into account to think about performance in context and with the end-user’s experience in mind. Additionally, leaders must enable transparency about performance throughout the organization.

Many organizations find it challenging to engage colleagues in performance management initiatives; capturing the interest of those in leadership roles may be even more difficult. Establishing and cultivating commitment to PM throughout the organization is crucial in building a culture of PM that will lead to an enduring PM system. Organizations should consider how their performance measures and reporting strategies connect to their ability to create interest and support among leadership.

It should be business unusual if we want to succeed and avoid downsizing in our organizations, entities our country.

leaders should be visible and more visible

Don’t hide behind, or under, your desk with your office door closed (if you’re lucky enough to have an office). Get your own coffee, use the common restaurant, go and see people rather than emailing them, attending their chikhoswe and bridal showers if necessary.  Although people may not want to engage openly at first it is worth getting out and about – to be seen, but also to watch and listen. The mood will come through if you let it and people will open up thereby creating value to the Management organization or a country.

Of course, none of this will work (and you’ll certainly fail the authenticity test) if the first day you adopt these approaches because of suspicion of staff (Why now, what is he up to?)

So – for the good of your colleagues, for the good of your organization for your country and as a high-performing leader – start acting as a visible leader from today.

Visible leadership

All Managers and leaders should take a lead in visible leadership they should practice and own it.

DISCLAIMER: The writer is a Fellow of IPMM (Institute of people Manager Malawi) He writes in his own capacity.

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