Moving from accountability to ownership
The management buzzword of the 1990s was ‘empowerment’. There were dozens of books and articles on the subject, and managers attended innumerable workshops and implemented seemingly endless programmes on how to ‘empower’ their people.
One does not hear this word so much any more, partly because we’ve learned that empowerment is an inside job; no one can empower you but you. Trying to ‘empower’ a person who believes him or herself to be disempowered is liking trying to push a string up a hill.
Over the past 15 years, we have been hearing a new management buzzword: ‘accountability’. It’s as if managers are saying: ‘We tried empowerment and it didn’t work, so now we’re going to hold people accountable with rewards and punishments.’
Forms of torture...