Chances are if an open position exists, part of the conversation will be concerned with its reporting structure – including up, down, solid line, dotted line, across, and internal or external reporting relationships. It usually isn’t a straight answer to identify who, singularly, the position will report to and who, multiple, the position will manage. Today’s conversations become complex as roles have evolved and changed through the introduction of technology and shift in how work is being done.
The basics of organizational structures can be found easily through searching and even in formal classes, what creates the need for this topic to be part of the conversation around leadership skills gap is the fact that leadership responsibilities have seem to spread and trickled into most roles in an organization. Many company leaders are drawn towards a ‘flatter’ organizational structure as it can bring empowerment to employees at all levels, communication and collaboration typically are quicker, and the ability to be more agile and responsive to changing markets or customer trends. The caveat to this structure is that it is hard to maintain these positives as companies grow and scale with their success. Being aware, and comfortable, with the fact that the organizational structure will shift with time is vital to on-going success. This shift can be made easier when there is clarity on the company culture, values, mission and competencies it expects of the employee.
I pair this structure shift with a buzz word I myself have been known to use, probably too frequently, as I map out target candidate profiles – ‘entrepreneurial mindset’. The initial reaction when I hear a hiring manager use this term or when talking with other TalentRemedy team members is a positive one. Why wouldn’t we want an employee to have the same passion and mission as the company they are being hired into? However, I have found this phrase needs to be dug into, explored, and outlined further to fully comprehend what it actual means for each company leader in terms of actions, behaviors, and outcomes. We cannot forget that each differentiating factor that typically draws us as hiring managers towards a candidate related to ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ may also be what draws that candidate to leading their own charge now or in the future.
Harnessing those same internal motivations from candidates that display these engaging traits is a way we can coordinate and balance the shift of organizational structures with spreading leadership responsibilities across flatter structures. Broadening our perception of ‘leading’ to include not only people, but also products, processes, and projects can help marry and resolve some of the skills gap that is present. Tapping into a candidate’s passion for a mission, allowing for a level of autonomy with surrounding support, and empowerment for feeling involved in company success could all be ways to incorporate a flatter organizational structure while bringing in target personality traits.
Thinking back to the last piece in our series, the gig economy, we could also incorporate the options of part-time or gig employees to boost this idea of ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ while keeping a flatter structure. These types of employees may demonstrate some of those key characteristics hiring managers seek out, while also allowing for the business to clearly identify a specific project or contract that is fully aligned with company goals. If it was not apparent before, and as discussed in our first part of the series, these topics can be intertwined and should not be only considered in a silo.
While the spring may not be a regular time for company off-sites, strategy planning, or other opportunities that focus on shifting organizational structures, many of these ideas suggested may not
include some gargantuan change to feel the positive impacts. Taking a bit of extra time when looking at open roles on the team or even when discussing personality traits like ‘entrepreneurial’ can open new ways to accomplish goals and find success.