Who's the Boss?

There are two types of boss, idiots and tyrants. Obviously there are few who are competent and supportive but then they have a boss who isn't. Either your line manager is impossible or senior management don't know what they are doing. There are lots of reasons for this, over promoted, lacking relevant experience, too concerned with keeping the politicians happy, obsessed with performance and budgets or preoccupied with furthering their own career. If only they just left us to get on with it, no more reorganisations, restructuring or cultural change programmes, no more pilots, projects or big new corporate initiatives. Life would just be so much easier without the boss looking over your shoulder asking have you done this and when are doing that and just think how much time we would save if we didn't have to read all those emails from senior management on the " vision”, “the business plan", "the strategy" or the latest efficiency initiative. Wouldn't it be a relief not to have to read the bosses blog or have to fill in their 360 degree evaluation. Well there is good news and bad news.

 

The good news is someone has come up with away of making an organisation work without bosses. There are currently 300 operating in this way, these self organising or self managing organisation are not new, they are an alternative to the top down bureaucratic organisation. They claim to be more innovative, more resilient and better attuned to customer needs. They reflect a changing relationship between managers and employees giving workers more autonomy, letting them get on with the job, using their skill and experience to get things done rather than having to get permission or seek authorisation. It involves workers getting together in groups to allocate tasks and work out who will do what and how. Rather like project groups leadership and membership change. And like co operatives workers are represented at board level and like many cooperatives there is not the huge pay differential of typical hierarchical organisations.

 

The bad news is there are still bosses, it doesn't do away entirely with hierarchies but is a flatter structure. The worst news is that experience suggests this way of working involves even more meetings to agree who is doing what, when. The even worst news is the Americans have named this hierarchy free arrangement a "holacracy". 

 

Blair McPherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

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