When people hear about a company with no managers, they usually have two reactions:
👎 Flat hierarchy doesn’t work.
👍 That sounds amazing!
Working in a flat organizational structure comes with a lot of benefits but also many responsibilities. Every obligation that would normally fall on a manager, falls on every single employee. This includes:
The amount of new responsibilities and what you can gain from it is very interesting and challenging. It’s also an environment that, as much as we would like, doesn’t fit everyone.
All of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not, we’ve been following the orders and rules of someone else. In a way, the lives we live since our birth are very hierarchical. We obey our parents, then our teachers. Working in the same structure comes very naturally. And, even though it might not seem like it in the beginning, going against that instinct is not as easy as it looks.
There are a lot of different types of work structure even in a more hierarchical company. However, in most of them, the responsibilities of a manager are to:
You will be the one to work with that person so it makes sense that you get to decide who joins the team. If you’re not used to seeing this as part of your daily job, it will be difficult to really embrace this responsibility.
The same goes for the rest of the manager-like tasks like feedback, performance reviews, decision-making process, amongst others.
No matter which job you have or in which company you have it, either flat organisational structures or not, hard skills and soft skills for that position should be the same in every company. However, how you apply them differs.
At Nmbrs, taking responsibility for things doesn’t mean the same as in other companies. You need to step out of how you’re used to working and understand that your area of influence is much bigger:
💪 If you see something that goes against our values, you have the freedom to address it;
💬 If a colleague on another team is slacking or arriving late, you are entitled to give them feedback;
🤗 If you feel something could change on how we work, you can share your opinion.
We are all the guardians of the company and we all contribute to its company culture. As long as we respect others we are entitled to address our colleagues.
Such immensity of responsibilities is not very easy to grasp. Most of the colleagues we hire come from more hierarchical systems. The adaptation process to any company is different from person to person. To help introduce people to this flat hierarchy, we try our best to supply the tools our colleagues need to thrive in a company with no managers since the very beginning.
There are many reasons why someone would find a flat hierarchy great but it also raises a lot of questions. It’s important to understand if it is the best environment for you to thrive in.
At the end of the day, if you want to grow and develop yourself, you need to have the right conditions for that to happen. This is something very personal. Some people need a more structured company to fully grow while others excel better when given more freedom.
Before applying to any company with a flat organisational structure, besides other aspects, think about the following: