Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Basic Policy and Practice Tips for Ministers of the Buhari Administration

Basic Policy and Practice Tips for Ministers of the Buhari Administration

Just as President Muhammadu Buhari looks to new partnership with the Nigerian people our hope is that in your capacity as a CHANGE Minister you will help to thoroughly bring reform and plant real democracy within the society.
Fundamental changes within the Ministry under your supervision could show up clearly by the way services are delivered to the people and this should be your main challenge as the holder of one or more portfolios. The way by which day-to-day services are performed will show if successful organizational changes under your Ministry are yielding measurable outputs.

Under your direct stewardship let your Ministry becomes that structural tool that is committed to basic economic and professional developments within the Buhari administration and for the people.

Let your Ministry provide an administrative culture of gain/growth perspective marked with widespread adoption of problem-solving oriented models and policies. This should be done in a studied and proactive way followed by fundamental change in both staff and organization so as to institute performance fully.

Your Ministry can mainly respond to problems adequately by identifying the underlying causes and address these issues in a systematic manner. Fully promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of your portfolio at all times.

As a Minister, you may be responsible for more than one portfolio or as a deputy Minister; you must learn to work with other Ministers on portfolio responsibilities, over a range of portfolios in order to achieve a broad approach on matters and issues.

While the Ministry under you will need to focus solely on needs and services within your domain it should be able to work together with other Ministries/agencies/NGOs across the nation so as to make a positive difference in advancing our country.

In your time the Permanent Secretary will no longer view all tasks and assignments as singular preservation; since you as the chief executive planner and supervisor must learn on the job how to lead a public organization and also learn to manage the organizational context of the Ministry.

While you will be charged with running the Ministry as a political appointee with the Permanent Secretary accounting for the day-to-day activities, you remain the chief executive of a government’s Ministry; as such you are the ultimate holder of failures or successes of the Ministry.

Always shoot for a good teamwork approach as it promotes productivity, quality improvement, team environment, and help towards staff believing in you; helping you to build trust and agreement with the President and the entire nation.

Having a lot executive meetings is commendable but in your time carry out less meetings and make sure these meetings are very effective and could translate into higher productivity or increased performance within your Ministry.

Think about personal and group success at all times. In a sentimental society like ours this dual approach is critical in order to enhance individual work ethic, expand group effort and reduce a bitter work environment.

In a Buhari administration, let the true tenets of a presidential system of government become effective by demanding for major changes in management and institutional philosophy, that is, by making sure that new ways to administration are in place, as colonial thinking still shape our policy and institutional approaches.

As a change Minister surround yourself with specialist/generalist advisors known for their major area of competencies and experience, as such move would serve as guides to help the Ministry fulfill its goals, roles and territories. Increasingly draw on the expertise of people and organizations that know how to make things happen.

As one of the ears and eyes of the President, practice good personal conduct frequently as one’s personal conduct affects the government in power in many ways both at home and outside the country.

Provoke an environment where staff becomes more inventive, are able to make critical decisions, and have equal access to general information, equal involvement in the process as this type of move would result in the best cooperation and productivity among staff at all levels of administration.

As an open minded executive make it your responsibility to become familiar with the regulations and requirements of the Ministry that you supervise, and familiarize yourself with modest things like list of updated forms relating to your Ministry. Always look at issues from many points of view – and your own information and opinion can go a long way to help the Ministry. Be sensitive and sensible towards the communities in need of your services, and take the time to reply to letters or emails with the help of staff. Find the time to communicate on public matters and the use of others to represent you should be done minimally.

Become open to learning about the law and policies pertaining to your office and ask questions often, and partner with local universities’ academic as they know more about your ministerial needs and guides understand the domestic culture than an expatriate of Euro/American background.

Do not underestimate the least staff as the gateman or female sanitation worker as each of them through your caring approach could become added value to the Ministry, especially when they view you as a good chief and see your presence as having motivation effect on them and the Ministry.

As you go about treating all staff as assets instead of liabilities, try to maintain the spirit of “we are all in this together" rather than "staff are to be seen and not heard" as this type of thinking would allow you to form a strong Ministry with less errors and inefficiencies.

It is important that your Ministry develop performance standards and use measures more effectively, and carry out more outcomes through effective management points like sensible delegation and conflict resolution.

Always try to set the right priorities in order to fully work towards fiscally responsible budget which could keep your Ministry moving in the right direction and give the people quality and lasting services.

Aim for optimal solutions, introduce awareness programs that promote effective accident prevention environment, create a safe, healthy work environment and fully implement best employee reward program. A bonus can be as simple as one paid day off from work or getting to a gift card.

Let your Ministry become a model for staff excellence with the staff not just been judged via promotional exams but on training outputs in regards to respect for human right, good time management skills, maintenance of good outlooks and capabilities, and a strong dislike of stereotypes, harassment and discrimination of all kinds—ethnicity, tribe, class, gender, and ability/disability. All these considerations to the workforce positively affect a person’s ability to both get and succeed in a job setting.

Encourage staff to develop ideas, encourage employees to engage in online training, and not having to travel for seminars and training courses in far off places at great cost to the Ministry and the nation.

As a 21st century Minister with the mindset to salvage our young democracy, it is certainly true that the reality of ethnic, religious, and reciprocal positions will periodically find their ways into some of your decisions but let your vision be constantly corrected by cultivating a citizenry and national spirit as you execute your duties to the nation.

~ By Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi, a Florida based Forensic/Clinical and Public Policy Psychologist, and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.Jos5930458@aol.com, drjohneoshodi.com.  
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