The corporate setting is a typical organizational system and a hierarchical structure of management and employees. Normally, employees will be grouped into teams or departments based on specializations or job functions. There are appointed managers, team leaders, and supervisors who belong to the management. They are regarded as the organizational leaders whose main roles are to direct and facilitate the members reporting directly to them.
Even the management requires supervision in which case, the team leaders report directly to the supervisors, the supervisors are supervised by the managers, and the managers are directly under the supervision of the board of directors or the company CEO.
One way to shift or modify organizational structure of a company is by creating self-directed teams. Another change could be the use of cross-functional supervision. There are even organizations that do not appoint supervisors to oversee a team. Everyone reports directly to the manager.
The set-up of an organizational structure where no supervisors are appointed to handle the employees can be quite a challenge. Obviously, this kind of set-up will not work for a startup company or a newly built business. There are advantages and disadvantages of eliminating a direct supervisor role. The impact can vary on the way an organization deals with such kind of shift in structure.
Advantages of Working without Supervision
An obvious advantage of working without a supervisor to monitor and direct the employees’ activities is that the working individuals learn to become independent and reliable even without a leader. This means they do not need to be guided and reminded constantly of their tasks.
Employees learn to become responsible in their scope of work and accountable for the outcome of what they do. Moreover, their problem-solving and decision-making skills are also developed. With a supervisor around, the team usually depends on the supervisor when it comes to decisions. If not, the members simply rely on groupthink, which does not help those employees who are weak in decision-making abilities.
Individuals will also learn a lot from self-management. They learn to handle their own time and plan the activities for their work. Workloads can vary depending on the need of the company to accomplish goals. Normally, the employees would work on more than one or two tasks a day. Because no one else will manage how they should go about their tasks, being able to self-supervise will train them to become organized and well-planned in their duties.
Disadvantages of Working without Supervisor
Working without any first-line supervisor can be challenging for an organization. Amidst the advantages, there can be downsides to the employees and the organization itself. Two crucial aspects will be greatly affected with an autonomous work approach: workers’ efficiency and productivity.
A risk in having no direct supervisory role in the structure is the tendency of workers to become inefficient at work because of the lack of guidance and monitoring. Since employees differ in work attitude, there may be individuals who lack self-discipline and motivation to do their work when there is no supervisor to monitor their activities. Inefficiency at work then leads to low productivity. Employees may not accomplish as much as they are supposed to. Apparently, the organizational goals will be affected and its growth will be hampered.
Effectively Working without Supervision
Before even considering a self-directed approach in the organizational structure, every company has to be prepared for the change. Employees must be highly disciplined, well-trained and motivated. They should be conditioned to think beyond their traditional roles and functions, accept new and challenging responsibilities, and work collaboratively with each other.
A company must consider the work control processes in order to guarantee a clear direction for the employees in terms of the best practices, guidelines, and tools even without the presence of a supervisor. Every department or every team must have its own work control process and must be fully incorporated in order to maintain and improve overall performance.
The work control processes serve as the ultimate guide for the functionality of every team and the members of the team. Once these processes are developed, it is important to define key performance indicators (KPIs) as a means of evaluating accomplishments and employee performance.