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Decentralisation of authority – mission command – is an aspiration of new ways of managing.
We often hear it refered to as decisions should be “pushed down to the lowest level.”
But another aspiration of new ways springs from the undestanding that you can’t make knowledge workers do anything.
Therefore we can only invite then to work (see Daniel Mezick ‘s book Inviting Leadership).
So we need to be phrasing decentralised authority differently, as “pulled down to the lowest level”. Better.
Next, we aspire to flip the hierarchy: it underpins and serves the work not rides on it. We don’t like the popular term “servant leader”. If you look at Greenleaf’s original writing, he’s talking about managers. Servant managers.
So let’s change it to:
“We want decision making authority to be pulled up to the closest level to the work”.
Corollary: the more authority and decision-making we pull up into the work, the less management we need.
I don’t subscribe to the idea of zero management, but the reduction effect is obvious.