Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Weak leadership and weak organizations

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Weak leadership and weak organizations

The issue of Capacity is one of the key terms that from the Bon Agreement has been in the center of capacity building and institutional building in Afghanistan. Millions of USD has been spent to build the leadership capacity at the Afghan public sector. However, as the performance of the most Afghan public institutions show, lack of basic leadership and management capacity is one of the key challenges in these organizations. Administration scholars believe that leadership is the most important competitive advantage of an organization and it holds for the other human resource of an organization too. Leadership team also play a key role in the success of an organization, an issue that is a matter of concern in Afghan public administrations as well; because nobody cares about the qualifications a leadership shall poses to lead effectively. The only issue which is important for establishing a team including a leadership team in Afghan public offices is commitment of the team to the person who is at the top of the organization and not to be committed to the common interest of the nation. Such approach has caused many Afghan public offices to fail.
Lack of strategic alignment and continued failure
One of the basic issues one may observe in Afghan public administration is lack of strategic alignment in the office. Research findings show that sustaining high business performance is a product of strategic alignment. Strategic alignment can be only achieved when all teams across the organization communicate and work closely. What we may observe in an Afghan public administration is the opposite. It is too difficult if not possible, to create an organizational environment conducive to communicate and work closely as team. Because, first of all there is no team work in most of the Afghan public administrations and if there is such a team work it just happens among specific sections and people with specific personal gains that it acts as communication barrier among different sections itself. In other words, strategic alignment is getting all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction.
Performance diagnosis checklist
Bad internal politics and unproductive work habits that eventually lead to declining performance are the two major performance challenges in most Afghan public administrations. The main reason behind these issues is management focus on one management area and having no time to manage the internal organization challenges, weak performance creeps in and takes hold. The only option to overcome these challenges is to keep an eye for the following symptoms and the treat the root causes before it is too late. These symptoms include: dictatorial leadership, no 360 degrees feedback, personal agendas, political compensations, ineffective use of resources, empire building practices, unequal workload distribution, fragment organization efforts, ineffective meetings, morale deterioration and etc.
Bad politics as a trigger of low performance
When employees feel discriminated against, abused or unappreciated, as it is common in Afghanistan public administration, they may resort to one or more of the these options: defection to competition, resort to sabotaging the organization, become emotionally distant and have no interest in the success of the organization, display passive-aggressive behaviors, work less and produce substandard results, key talents leave organization and even the country, public administrations develop a reputation for being political and unpleasant place to work, employees lose faith an motivation.
Treatment challenges in Afghan public administration
Why is it so hard to treat low performance in Afghan public administration?
It is clear that in most public administrations leadership is part of the political game, they put first their politic interests to serve the people as the supreme, and also there is a lack of consensus on the correct strategy and it is mostly evident when one high ranking official leaves the office and another public servant is in the office, and worse than that new leaders are not able to asses who is right or wrong because of lack of information and misinformation which the latter is more common in our institutions.
In sum, Afghan public administration suffers heavily frm the lack of a team work, and lack of strategic alignment. Personal and political interests presides the national interests and political games have nearly paralyzed the Afghan public administration. Low performance in Afghan public administration is a common phenomena and calls for urgent decisions to develop committed leadership and leadership teams with new leadership and management qualifications. More importantly, the origins of our public Administration challenges are the Afghan mindset; a mindset with a historic background of discrimination and skepticism which acts as the main barrier of inclusive team formation and teamwork at both macro and micro levels.

Sakhi Rezaie is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at sakhi2007@gmail.com

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