Why your company needs managers at the first place?
At the first sight, that sounds like a nice idea: let employees do their job without interfering and ideas will flow more freely, without intermediaries. There are even some business theories that preach that style but it didn't give expected results. The problem with a "company without managers" is that such a structure creates way more problems than it solves.
From the psychological point of view, you, as a CEO, can: be a good boss, be a bad boss, or ignore your employees. Believe it or not, but it is better to be a bad boss than to ignore your workers, all surveys and experience show that. When an employee is ignored, the productivity falls to a very low level, almost to zero.
And that's understandable. A good boss motivates with ideas, leading by example, by constant trying to make the life of all employees easier. A bad boss, if nothing else, motivates with "I could be fired" fear and people work. But if there's no ignorance, there's neither reward nor fear, and people stop work.
And that's exactly the situation with holacracy, in essence an organizational structure with no managers or job titles. Or where everybody's a manager, if you will. Zappos tried that, didn't turned well. Even Google tried something similar, they returned to the "old-fashioned" way in a few weeks.
One simple idea is missing from all "we are all equal" theories: we are not equal. Some people love being accountants and they are experts in their field. Other people love to put things together. Some are gifted salesmen. Some are good at managing people. And that's exactly one reason why no company can work without managers: people need guidance.
Managers are there to give a guidance to some extent and only when they are present you can say "Give your people work and let them do it." Good managers encourage their employees, they are trying to make a well-organized environment so that their people can focus on work.
It's not on employees to think about sales, contracts, deliveries, customers, compplaints, what they should do, how they should do it... and at the same focus on the work at hand. And this is exactly why the structure that's too flat can't live for a longer period of time: it leads to anarchy, not productivity and happiness. ■
What to read next
More inside POST
Keeping the supply chain flowing Leadership