How is employee engagement a management issue?
Crowing Management

The Pledge for Better Management

Today I received a request from the Chartered Management Institute to pledge my support for their Manifesto for a Better Managed Britain. You may click here to download the PDF but the pledges requested are:


  • We pledge to make the development of effective mangers and leaders a national priority.
  • We pledge to develop professional management and leadership skills in the public sector


  • We pledge to develop professional managers and leaders in our organisation.
  • We pledge to foster a culture in which managers and leaders are competent and accountable.


  • I pledge to demonstrate professionalism in the way I manage and lead setting an example for others.
  • I pledge to develop my management and leadership skills throughout my working life

Regular readers might well guess my reaction to this, but I thought that, for once, I would keep my opinions to myself and rather research what others think. Accordingly I would like to know:

  • Whether you think there is a need for such an initiative
  • Whether you would be willing to make the pledge applicable to you as they stand
  • Why you feel that you would or wouldn't make your own pledge
  • Your own suggestions for appropriate pledges - either improving these or adding your own, including covering any issues that you think are missing.

Consequently, I am setting up a competition for the best comments, and by best I mean the ideas that are most constructive and will be most likely to change the workplace as we currently know it - for the better. While the context is British, the principles are universal, and thus there will be no geographical restrictions - all entries are welcome.

The competition will close on 13th October 2009 in order to allow me the time to consolidate the ideas mooted and incorporate them into my own response to the CMI, although naturally comments will still be welcomed after that. I will publish the name of the author of the winning entry (as judged by me) on this page as soon as possible around that time, and (upon receipt of their contact details) send him/her a free copy of my book "Lean Organisations Need FAT People." My judgment will be final.

Enjoy the challenge. I look forward to your comments.




Thank you for your considered response. I will certinly give what you say some further thought. However, my immediate sense is that the distinct between managing and management is an unnecessary refinement. The concept of management seems to be to be driven by the expectation of trying to get people to do what you want them to do do. If people have the shared purpose and vision they will do better at the managing - through self-managing rather than prescription - and the "well-functioning systems" will operate better. The breakdown of well-functioning systems always requires people to fix it and their performance in doing so will depend on the extent of their engagement rather than obedience to prescribed orders or prior training.

Certainly there is food for further thought in the whole topic.


William Tate

My comment takes the form of lengthy 'evidence' to the Chartered Management Institute's campaign for a Better Managed Britain (displayed on their website). In essence, making the pledge is probably fairly harmless, but what is behind it isn't. The connection between what individual managers need to do better ('managing') bears scant relation to what the organisation needs to do better ('management'). The sum of the former does not equate to the latter. Very simply, 'managing' is focused on what lies at the heart of the individual (hence skills and training); 'management' is focused on the spaces between individuals and between organisation variables. Services to customers are delivered not by competent individuals but by well-functioning systems. This misunderstanding bedevilles attempts at improving organisations' performance. See book The Search for Leadership:An Organisational Perspective.


The deadline has passed without my receiving any comments so I guess that means there is no winner. Disappointing though that is, I hope you will still feel free to contribute your thoughts on this.

As for me, I am afraid I find it all a bit glib and meaningless. As I manager I subscribe to these principles and have for thirty years, so it is a no-brainer. I just wish that they included something that included appreciating and valuing people more. After all, your success as a manager, is entirely dependent on the performance of your people. Just like the coach of any sports team, when play starts, you are powerless and have no option but to rely on your people to be the best they can and perform to their highest potential.

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