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You don’t have to be a government agency or a publicly funded institution to have a bureaucratic culture. Bureaucracy develops in many large established companies.
A bureaucracy in and of itself is not a bad thing—after all, we do need services like police, educational institutions and hospitals, and we’re comforted by knowing they create a set of rules and develop consistent services.
However, when an organization gets too bureaucratic, it can take away from its main mission and goals.
What can you do to help your organization be less bureaucratic?
Bureaucratic institutions tend to be focused on optics. They are more interested in appearing as though they are doing the “right thing,” and less so in the outcome being effective.
Don’t just go for the band-aid solution— go for the cure!
As a leader, focus on finding outcomes that will be effective for the long-term.
In bureaucracies, people are often concerned with positioning themselves in the eyes of their superiors. Because of this, they don’t always speak the truth.
When people speak in mixed messages and say things to mislead you, it is difficult to know where they stand.
As a leader, speak plainly and directly while remaining professional. This will eliminate the misdirection that tends to occur in bureaucracies.
Consequences are not just punishments; consequences can also mean both praise and correction.
They create accountability; however often in companies with bureaucratic cultures, there is no punishment when workers screw up, and there is no praise when they do well.
In other words, when people screw up, they are not disciplined or terminated. The organization does not
apply consequences either because of the union-management relationship or because there is no willpower on behalf of the management to do what needs to be done.
If you want your organization to be less about politics and bureaucracy, there must be consequences.
By following these three recommendations, you can make your organization less bureaucratic, and achieve more.
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