The Death of Workplace Hierarchy

in Business by Emily Snell

The Death of Workplace Hierarchy

The Death of Workplace Hierarchy

“[Hierarchies] are not very good at mobilizing effort, at inspiring people to go above and beyond.” Gary Hamel

The ubiquitous organizational hierarchy is a relic. It’s heaving from over use and exhaustion. It slows communication. It slows decision-making. It slows input. It discriminates against new talent and advocates for the familiar. Productivity slides backwards. Fresh ideas are stifled in hierarchies.

Hierarchies were useful to control employees when they could be easily replaced. Today it takes more than holding a job to motivate employees. They want to unleash their strengths, apply their passions and work alongside others who do the same.

In time, rigid hierarchies too often controlled by personality at the top will be outdone by nimble organizations that give power to teams. This paradigm shift gives the competitive advantage to businesses that leverage the collective talents of their people. Quite simply, organizations cannot thrive in today’s dynamic business world with outdated structures that celebrate the individual at the top of the pyramid.

The workplace doesn’t need to be a place where businesses die. Our workplaces have squeezed out all usefulness from hierarchy. It’s merely a familiar construct we hang onto even though it’s crippling innovation. Though it’s depleting optimism in our workplaces.

It’s time for the hierarchy to adapt to today’s business realities. We need more democratic work environments where employees’ input is sought in areas once reserved for a select few: strategy, operational improvements, culture change, for example.

Hierarchies were useful to control employees when they could be easily replaced. Today it takes more than holding a job to motivate employees. They want to unleash their strengths, apply their passions and work alongside others who do the same.

It’s more than seeking employees’ inputs, however. Replacing hierarchy means putting employees at the table co-creating solutions with managers, if they exist, to drive business results.

About the Author

Emily Snell

Emily is a contributing marketing author at ChamberofCommerce.com where she regularly consults on content strategy and overall topic focus. Emily has spent the last 12 years helping hyper growth startups and well-known brands create content that positions products and services as the solution to a customer's problem.

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