Non-hierarchical leadership – Utopia or next stage of leadership development?
An organization’s leadership structure determines how workflow, accountability and authority work together. Hierarchical leadership employs a top-down, pyramid-shaped structure with a narrow center of power that trickles down to widening bases of subordinate levels. Nonhierarchical leadership flattens the pyramid to form a structure with decentralized authority and fewer levels. Hierarchical leadership is well established in organizations around the world, its positive sides and limitations are already know. The rigidity of a hierarchy is well-suited to highly regulated businesses. On the other side nonhierarchical leadership is quite new and some professionals think that its effects are very limited. Other professionals claim that decentralization gives employees a higher level of responsibility and accountability for their work, as well as bigger stakes in outcomes. It encourages functional diversity within roles, and with it, creativity, because employees aren’t confined to specific areas of specialization. This allows the organization to operate with less redundancy, as teams can share resources more readily than hierarchical divisions can.