By Perez Brisibe
THE Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Tuesday, held a one-day retreat for board members and Heads of Departments of the commission as part of measures in repositioning the agency for effective delivery.
The retreat with the theme; “Leadership and Change Management”, was held at the Lagos Business School was attended by the board members led by its chairman, Chief Michael Diden and managing director, Chief Askia Ogieh.
In his remark at the event, Chief Askia explained that the choice of the theme of the retreat is inspired by the desire of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s earnest desire to change the narrative in the commission and make it more responsive to the yearnings of the oil producing communities.
Chief Askia noted that change as it applies to DESOPADEC must involve a shift in management and organisational structure and culture noting that in the past, DESOPADEC had often been in the news for the wrong reasons.
According to him, “Our major objective here is to be equipped with the tools to change the narrative at DESOPADEC. The Governor has given us the task of reforming the contract award process to curb the patronage of companies without the requisite capacity to diligently execute projects and improving project supervision procedures to eliminate cases of substandard jobs.”
He cited other objective of the DESOPADEC team as; Ensuring that projects executed have direct benefits to communities by liaising with relevant stakeholders in deciding the choice of projects, repositioning DESOPADEC into a responsive, focused and purpose-driven intervention agency and to initiate measures to sustain and deepen the peace in oil producing areas.
He said: “These are solemn tasks we have been mandated to undertake without any margin for failure. Previously, we have been failing because we were mainly engaged in transactional leadership.
“We as transactional leaders, are more concerned with productivity (which is questionable, sometimes) without necessarily inspiring communication or leading by example. This I must say is against the current trend of transformational leadership that meets the challenges.
“One of the key features of transactional leadership as I have observed, in the course of my sojourn in the corporate world, is the laissez-faire attitude. We are indifferent and have a ‘hands-off’ approach toward our subordinates and their performance.
“We as leaders ignore their needs and do not even monitor performance as it involves corporate goals. Well, that is archaic. We must change to effectively and positively impact on our style of management and those we have been challenged and mandated to affect their lives and environment.
“The good news is that we are transiting to a more accommodating leadership that is relevant and delivers on corporate targets and governance at DESOPADEC. The transformational leadership I talk about here is a model of leadership that meets both the challenges of a rapidly changing environment and the need to emotionally engage everyone within the organisation for the achievement of the organisational goals.
“The leaders, board members and heads of departments, must recognise and nurture the talents of the other members of the organisation in order to succeed. In this regard, think about the office cleaner as a key member of the team that helps to deliver on our targets and goals.”
Sharing his thoughts on the importance of transformational leadership, he said: “In transformational leadership, the leader develops and shares the vision of the organisation’s future so that other members will imbibe it and they will get focused on what to achieve.
“But I must say that this is not happening because we at the management level hoard useful information from our colleagues in other departments or even from our subordinates.
“We do not provide leadership for change in corporate enhancement because we lock up vital files and information while we proceed on leave.”