More and more companies are turning to flat organisational structures that don’t rely on management levels. This leads us to ask, are managers really necessary in future organisations?
A survey by Virtuali found that 83% of Millennials want fewer layers of management. They want managers who are easily approachable and willing to take their opinions into account. This is evident in today’s Millennial-led organisations that favour open work spaces where all employees work alongside each other.
Zappos has become well known for being the first large company to introduce holacracy, an organisational structure that focuses less on traditional management roles and more on autonomy. In 2008, Google commenced a project to look at the concept of management in a flat hierarchal structure, to see if they could identify the qualities of a good manager. They came up with a list of 8 qualities, identified from the employee data they collected of what constitutes a good manager:
1. A good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage
3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Is productive and results-oriented
5. Listens and shares information
6. Helps with career development
7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Has key technical skills that help him/her advise the team
Interestingly, technical skills came in last. This shows that while it’s important that managers have the technical experience to guide employees, soft skills such as coaching and communication are absolutely essential. Being technically-great doesn’t necessarily make you a great manager. Companies would be wise to ensure that they are promoting people who have the necessary soft skills as well as technical knowledge.