How productive would you be in a work environment that had rules but no boss? Some folks do back flips when they find out management isn’t coming in on a Friday, so I doubt things would be super productive all the time. As crazy of a concept like this might sound, there are big name companies willing to give it a try.
Just last month, Zappos made the decision to rid itself of managers in efforts to have employees govern themselves. People who once held management roles have since lost them — with whisperings of a potential pay cut.
Can you imagine working your way up the food chain at work only to have the powers that be tell you “just kidding” and remove your title? Personally I wouldn’t be too happy with the situation, and apparently others at Zappos aren’t as 14 percent have left or plan on leaving.
There has been a push to make the modern work environment more inclusive. Rather than keep managers in corner offices and away from the general public, businesses like Jessica Alba’s Honest Company are removing barriers to make things more inclusive. Sometimes it’s better to have everyone work in the same space as it not only encourages productivity (can imagine trying to blow time sitting next to your boss) and greater dialogue. It can also make your boss more approachable as you might think more of them as a colleague and not someone who signs off on your checks.
Allowing employees to make decisions on their own reminds me of the book Lord of the Flies. Don’t get me wrong, I think grown adults are capable of making decisions, but sometimes, that can take longer than expected. Hopefully you never have to experience a meeting that goes longer than expected because people can’t agree. Everyone has an opinion but not necessarily the professionalism to hear others, especially when they need to feel right. This can make simple tasks more complicated than necessary which is both annoying and a waste of time. You also have to consider cliques within a company that can make getting tasks done a hard challenge. It’s going to be an uphill battle to agree and put aside any petty differences you might have.
My fear is without a boss or people in management, there might not be anyone who can make the final call. Who knows, maybe people will elect an employee of the month to make the tough decisions. Someone needs to do it.
And what about your resume? One of the reasons why people work so hard to become a manager is to have that experience and title under their belt. Making this accomplishment disappear — or downgrading someone who previously held it — might not be a good look.
From the looks of things, quite a few employees at Zappos are confused about how to do their job. Not only are meetings taking additional hours than necessary, but many are still scratching their heads as to how things will run.
Can you picture yourself working for a company without a boss? Do you think it would open the door to more creative collaboration or chaos?