The idea of strength and discipline came up frequently during conversations with CDS CC consultants Mel Braverman and Jeanie Wells around management empowering their teams and fostering reciprocal accountability. To do it well requires vision, constant practice and fortitude as a leader.

When we look at the empowerment and accountability stream in food co-ops and how it functions between general ­managers and their management teams, we can see that their relationship falls right in the middle of the stream. If the accountability stream followed the contours of the body, we’d say the challenge to this stakeholder group is to have a strong core. What this means is that the co-op’s vision, delegation of roles, and sharing of information, is carried out in operations that reflect the mission.

Here’s the unwritten part of the general manager and management team member’s job description: Lead transformation. It’s something that is done every day at food co-ops, writ large and small in the ­activities of its management and staff.

When they do it well, their work encourages ownership and nurtures pride in the co-op for the next generation.

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