Hierarchy is an inescapable reality in our workplaces even though it stifles creativity and independent thinking. It generally comes from what we saw in our families: One or two people who are in charge, write the law and don’t allow for any input or questioning because it’s against the order they’ve imposed. Leaders who lack self-awareness may not realize how the walls they build between people affect the functioning of their organizations. Authoritarian hierarchy creates many undesirable effects:
- People don’t feel important.
- People aren’t heard.
- All rules are issued from above.
- Creative thinking is discouraged.
- Questioning is forbidden.
- People are labelled and put in boxes.
- Decision-making is based on rank or status.
- Leadership enjoys additional perks.
- People are afraid to think autonomously.
- Everyone’s role is defined from the top.
- Little tolerance for new ideas or approaches.
A large percentage of our workplaces are designed to manage and control employees rather than let them shine. The key to creating a dynamic, fluid workplace is to get rid of the barriers between people and encourage them to interact freely and share ideas. Sure, there will be times when leadership has to make a final decision, but it will be less frequent because people are amazingly adept at thinking on their own when we let them. How will you reduce the influence of hierarchy in your workplace?