George Orwell’s Big Brother is slowly ceasing to exist in business organisations today. With power equations equalising, business environments are free from bureaucracy, nurture transparency and empower employees who are equal partisans in decision making processes. Hierarchy has been replaced with Wierarchy- a peer-to-peer communication process instead of a top-down approach.
There is still the concept of the leader though, who is less of a boss and more of a team facilitator. And that leader, does have a dicey task of making sure this freedom does also harness a discipline which hits targets and makes deadlines. The style of leadership will have to be one that will accommodate changing employee attitudes and behaviours. A relationship that that will transcend authority but upholds respect for each other will substantiate the progress of flat organisations.
You Don’t Need My Permission:The constant need for approval, which leads to tardiness and unnecessary red-tapism, takes a backseat in flat organisations.This definitely makes the process faster and challenges employees’ potential to explore different approaches to their work. More importantly, you instil trust in them and their work; which will go a long way. At the same time the organisation’s responsiveness to volatile market conditions will be better.
Hey You Hold The Reins! : Self-control sounds fun and flexible, but with self control comes huge responsibility. Though they are free to choose to work they way they want to, they are accountable to the company and its objectives. Micromanaging takes this onus off them, thus making them more complacent and dependent on the senior. Pointing fingers becomes a common and easy escape route. Give them a freehand and let them embrace responsibility rather than shudder away from it.
Lets Chart Your Career Path Together: Since the concept of promotion doesn’t hold good in an organisation that doesn’t believe in titles, motivation is more career-based than cash based. Flat organisation is mainly a spider web rather than a flight of stairs. This interconnectedness can help employees interact and move from one department to another without compromising on their area of expertise. Get to know their knowledge base, specialities and ambitions and create a pathway which will channelize their energies and knowledge to other departments, not only within the organisation but also outside of it. Develop reciprocal relationships with companies or departments where you train their workforce and they train yours.
So, How Are You Doing? : Make sure you engage in a conversation with your employees be it at the coffee machine or at the water-filter. Often amidst corporate brouhaha, one just forgets the person behind those e-mails and phone calls. Trust is the crux of flat organisations and the only way you can build trust in them and vice-versa, is when you take time out to talk to them That is when they know that they are not just another cog in the wheel. When their problem is your problem, then seamlessly yours becomes theirs.