The need for Ghanaians to require public managers to manage their organization efficiently and simultaneously remain accountable to the public cannot be over emphasized. We have much more rapidly changing technologies, a more highly educated and technically trained workforce, and greater global interdependencies and new tools at our finger tips to help us get our jobs done well.
Many of us wonder why government seem to have so much difficulty managing its programs. The popular perception is that government is incompetent most times. I am of the opinion that government can accomplish anything with the right determinations and direction. Obviously neither the predominantly, sensationalized positive or negative images of government are accurate. Government face unique challenges. Trying to solve the toughest problems while under intense scrutiny is only the tip of the iceberg.
Quality management, benchmarking, team management, privatization, and performance management have already begun to positively transform government operations and management. Our managers of government institutions need better training and opportunities to exchange and share ideas about how to develop and deploy these tools. Public management matters because public policy matters. Only government has the legitimacy and ability to address most of the challenges facing our society, we need to create the organizational capacity to deliver on our promises as a government.
The existing framework does not work. Large scale bureaucracy with its centralized rules and overregulation of government managers has failed. All over Ghana public management have become a political issue, and that makes this a critical moment. We need to begin a long-overdue process of change which I believe will in the end reinvent government. Public managers face a unique set of challenges in running governmental organizations. Although the problems faced by public managers continue to grow, most public managers are ill-equipped to deliver quality leadership. Many are either untrained or poorly trained in management leadership and administration.
In government, lawyers, engineers, accountants and bankers are promoted to managerial positions without much consideration of the unique requirements of management. It is assumed that anyone can manage and that no learnable skills are involved. This is an essay that presents a vision of a new kind of public manager, an innovative and effective public manager, and one who seeks to shape events rather than be shaped by them. We need more aggressive, risk-taking public management. I believe that public organizations can and must be made to perform more effectively. Although mistrust of government is an accepted part of our Ghanaian political culture government is still expected to provide services and enhance quality of life.
Government is seen as wasteful and corrupt, business and lean and efficient—perceptions that are often justified at least on anecdotal evidence. The examples for NDC and NPP are in the public discussion for the wrong reasons. A greater number of government success stories could be cited if it is on demand. We need to do a better job of training current and future public managers. We need to help make public managers, more strategic, creative, and flexible – more importantly effective.
The works of public service is an honorable profession. It is a profession requiring skillful use of analytic techniques, management practices, creative thinking and modern technology. One of the biggest challenges that public managers face is trying to overcome large bureaucrat image is that they lack control over goal setting. Some are usually more concerned with their political health than the organizational performance. Unfortunately for the public manager, political interest are difficult to project and frequently change with little warning.
Because political interests determine the goals of public organizations, public managers often face shifting priorities. The most effective public managers are those who learn to adjust programs rapidly to reflect change priorities. One huge ingredient in the recipe for failure is forgetting that organization are made up of people and that people count. Management can be defined as the art of getting people to do things. Effective managers are in constant touch with an informant who provide feedback on ideas and initiatives, and they are constantly learning, teaching, experimenting, and changing. The best managers are those who understand their organization’s environment. They are able to project the effect that their actions will have on that environment.
Effective management is getting people to do the right things. The effective manager must convince people to leave their ideal state and do things they would not otherwise do. The manager must obtain resources to create incentives that stimulate people to achieve organizational goals. Managers forget that they need to interact and communicate with the people who work for them. Rather than deal with staff as living components of a living organization, managers deal with them as obstructions. If this continue long enough, productivity is impaired and the organization ultimately loses its ability to attract resources. Effective public managers try to make things happen, they pursue programmatic goals and objectives by thinking and acting strategically.
By Dr Dickson Adomako Kissi