This post looks into what the detrimental effects of hierarchy issues could be within a company and what often causes them, before then explaining how management uniform can be used to alleviate and solve the problem and remove any issues.
How, Why & When Does Company Hierarchy Become An Issue?
The outward symptoms of a company suffering from hierarchy issues can be plentiful or present themselves in one of a variety of ways. Let's look at just a few in isolation and examine how to spot them in your company.
Too many layers of management is a common cause of hierarchy issues. Like micro-managing on a person-to-person level (when a manager cannot help but get over involved in an underling's work activity), too many layers of management in a company leads to several negative issues. It can slow down the flow of information and production of results up and down the authority stream, as information has to pass through several filters. Often, too, each layer of management can add their own twist and accountability becomes lost.
Additionally, as the next level of authority isn't too far away from an immediate line manager, in the eyes of an underling, said manager can struggle to maintain authority and respect from their team very quickly. This helps promote the practice of work politics within the business. And this can quickly lead to the worrying issue of paying lip service to a manager.
This appears in two forms: an employee saying they will do something but not actually delivering - which is poor enough - or, alternatively, only completing tasks which serve to keep their manager happy rather than contributing to the greater good of the company. Both of these cause harm to the business; the former is clear and easy to diagnose, but the latter is more deep rooted and needs a cultural change.
A company operating under these kind of constraints is likely to also foster a culture of passing the buck. Poor hierarchy organisation within a company doesn't give a place for the responsibility to rest, far too often. Also, this is a two way street; make sure you look out for managers who shift responsibility onto employees, not just other managers.
Not necessarily caused by having too many managers - though those types of companies do often suffer with this issue - a poor hierarchy setup generally can lead to a lack of leaders in a company. And this can harm productivity. If managers don't get the most out of their staff due to a lack of respect, presence or control, this can harm the company.
Decisions should be made centrally within the management team - and said managers should then be in a position to go and put the wheels in motion and be trusted to deliver the plan to employees. And the employees should know they are working towards a company goal, for the good of the company and the team as a whole; not just because their manager or manger's manager told them to do so. A uniform helps to formalise this process.
Could Management Uniform Remove Company Hierarchy Issues?
So, from the discussion so far, we can see two broad issues:
A hierarchical structure which leaves managers so authoritative that their team is responsible to only them rather than the company. A hierarchical structure which doesn't give management enough responsible authority in the company.
The first is a more delicate issue.
Let us assume, in the first instance, your company already has a uniform policy and managers wear the same uniform as their underlings. Implementing a dedicated management uniform could seem to only exaggerate the power of a manager and therefore exaggerate the problem. Instead, a refresh of generic, company wide uniform could help level the hierarchical field and put the company front and centre.
Likewise, if your company does not already have a uniform in place, giving a uniform to managers is likely to further separate them as a group of employees and this could go two ways. On the one hand, it may subconsciously make their authority more iconic to employees and perpetuate the problem faced. But, on the other hand, if all team managers receive their own uniforms and you also rotate managers to different teams of employees, The Manager (concept) becomes the one who needs to be followed rather than the manager (the specific person) as before.
The second issue above - the problem of managers not having enough responsible authority - can go a long way towards being solved by implementing management uniform. Providing the managers themselves are professional enough to deal with being isolated from other employees thanks to their uniform - which we have to assume is so, otherwise they wouldn't have been made a managerial figure originally - and not either a. abuse their new increased and visible authority or b. go the other way and feel self conscious to the point of not wanting to appear extra-authoritative; a uniform provides an instant kick start to a manager's authority.
It is visible and clear that they operate on a different level of authority compared to other employees. It isn't a cure-all treatment - poor managers will remain poor managers - but it can be the final touch to a wider programme to improve management authority and respect; training courses, peer observations, mentoring and the countless other management training schemes available. The uniform helps to formalise the hierarchical structure of a company.
But with all this comes increased authority.and therefore responsibility. As you promote and nurture a better, more authoritative manager, it is they who are responsible for the performance of their team of employees.
The only delicate area here is the teething period of managers being set apart by suddenly wearing different uniforms (managing this will be covered elsewhere on this blog), but when used with other management improvement techniques, a management uniform can most definitely remove hierarchy issues within your company.