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Horizontal Organization: You're Doing it Wrong

Posted on 2013.06.20 at 00:00
Current Location: 75013
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The idea behind flattening management structure is supposed to make employees more productive by making them feel as if they are part of the decision-making process, and streamlining both customer and personnel feedback by removing layers of middle-management. That's the idea.

In reality the most personal relationship I have with anyone in my management chain is my direct manager, whom I report to. He knows my strengths, my weaknesses, and the team dynamic - who works well together and why - which team members are more adept at which tasks. He personally juggles and doles out tasks based upon this knowledge and planning for future tasks. What it has always come down to for me is nurturing that relationship - attempting to work closely with the one who both writes your annual review and who's eyes you have to meet when you fail. And that's what it comes down to. Context. That very personal relationship you have with your first-level supervisor no matter your level.

So while horizontal organizational structures are all the rage, severing my personal relationship with a real person and placing me under a remote manager I'll never meet in another part of the country is not going to foster a close relationship. Its not going to make me feel more productive nor part of the decision-making process. My annual performance review will now be written by someone who's eyes I don't have to meet, and both of us will suffer for that.

Or, like I told him when he called to introduce himself, "I have been unimaginably successful every time I have had a local, on-site manager. The inverse has been painfully accurate each time I've reported to a remote one."


jobu121 at 2013-06-21 18:33 (UTC) (Link)
HA! Part of the decision making process - they tried that with us at McAfee we wanted to stay with Dell servers, but since the new CIO and CEO were from IBM guess which hardware we started to buy?

That is the worst kind of Annual Review. WORST!

You are correct sir, a working relationship with your direct boss is crucial for success. Success for both parties involved. He protects you from the uppers and you make him look good....
Lelf Treperra
ubet_cha at 2013-06-22 02:22 (UTC) (Link)
There are exceptions to every rule. I am leaning your way on this one as well. Especially given the recent fire drill we just went through.

Is there a way you could encourage interaction more? Maybe a twice a year flyover, or at least more frequent phone conference. I hate the idea of having to do that....beats the alternative.
michelle1963 at 2013-06-25 16:26 (UTC) (Link)
Corporations fail to understand that the relationships among employees - supervisor to employee, and peer to peer - are exceptionally important. I have been amazed how one poor employee, and even more significantly a poor boss, can disrupt productivity. Yet this fact is continually overlooked in favor of structural hierarchy, workflow analyses, etc. I am not saying that those types of things do not have their place, but one really good boss or a really bad one are going to have an immediate effect. One article I read said that replacing a poor boss with an excellent one was akin to adding an extra employee to an nine person team productivity-wise. That is rather significant.

The thing of it is the interplay of human interaction is very hard to measure and standardize compared to structural / organizational changes. So I'm not holding my breath that anything is going to change soon.
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