Managers have talents
I read more and more articles written by people who see hierarchy everywhere and reject the idea that we can live without it. I want to clarify this idea a little bit by calling a cat, a cat!
The belief that “we need a boss otherwise it won’t work” has a thick skin. It makes us suffer and prevents independence through construction.
Which Hierarchy are we talking about?
When I talk about hierarchy, I mean the managerial pyramid, that of “subordination” found in labor law and organization charts; a structure that makes a person in a company introduce himself as, “Hi, I’m Nick and I’m in Jack’s or Susan’s team”— ”Jack and Susan” being the “Managers” in this model.
Understand that I have nothing against managers. I am simply saying that in many organizations this century old model creates, by its construction, increasing endemic difficulties such as communication issues, political games, bureaucracy, fear, poor autonomy, lack of common sense, etc.
Do you really need a manager to do your job? I don’t!
On the other hand, I need clarity regarding the authority I’m given and its limits. I also need clarity regarding the jobs that others expect me to fulfill — these jobs being necessary for the organization to manifest its purpose.
I also need tools that give me the power to make the governance evolve when I sense limits in my work and my roles.
Thanks to this environment and these tools, I am independent and creative because I know exactly the ‘space’ that I am assigned to, my “air traffic lane” if you will. I can take any action or project within those limits and with the financial resources available to me without having to report to John, Paul and Jack. On top of that, I can make things evolve on my own, with my “own little muscles.”
In short, I don’t have a boss anymore; I don’t have any hierarchy and I have the appropriate tools to process all my problems. I am no longer powerless when it comes to making things move forward/evolve. From now on, I am empowered. Wow, what a change!
I am the Leader of my roles and the follower of others’ roles, and vice versa. I can also have several roles dispatched throughout the entire organization using my aspirations and competencies. I’m no longer trapped in one corner of the pyramid.
I finally have a healthy work environment in which I can blossom and grow.
What happens to the manager?
The two functions attributed to a manager in the conventional model are the alignment and integration of tensions. These functions are removed from the manager and incorporated in a process. This allows the manager to go back to work for his own benefit and that of the organization. As I like to say with a pinch of humor since I was a manager for more than twenty years, “It’s not because one is a boss or a manager that one does not have talent.”
To read too: I have a lot of compassion for managers
This alternative to the conventional model that is used by default is already practiced in numerous companies for the benefit of organizations and collaborators. This new “social technology” is Holacracy.
The very existence of this alternative is valuable as it allows us to ask ourselves: which mode of governance and management of power are we going to choose for our company? Do we choose managerial hierarchy or “…”?
We can now make conscious choices regarding the management of power.
Bernard Marie’s presentation for a Webinar by Liip Talk