Nominate a second-in-command

This article first appeared on August 15, 2011.

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of young businesses that I come into contact with are very proud of their flat management structures.

 

There is a leader (usually the company founder) and then there are a group of employees who are a more or less on the very same level.

 

“It’s a great leadership team,” the entrepreneur in charge invariably tells me. “We’ve all got a say in how the company is run.”

 

It’s the same at Taskmaster Enterprises – everybody gets a say as long as they agree with Old Taskmaster.

 

Just kidding of course. But I do believe there can be some problems with a flat management structure that becomes too flat.

 

If the founder/leader is taken out of the picture for any reason – say, they are sick or on holidays or working on a big project – then management paralysis can set in.

 

Either everybody tries to make decision or – more commonly – everything is left until the boss comes back.

 

The solution is to anoint a second-in-command – a senior manager who has the authority to make decisions in your absence.

 

The promotion doesn’t have to be formal if you are worried about causing problem in your team, but it does need to be clear who is in charge so business keeps getting done.

 

Get it done – today!

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