As companies begin to scale up their operations, more staff are required for its day-to-day processes. This phenomenon happens across the board, from Multinational Corporations (MNC) to startups. This gradually leads to the inception of a hierarchical system, where people at the lower end of the organisation are further away from their bosses. The lack of familiarity between colleagues and subordinates starts to proliferate in the office. There is greater fear for your subordinates, and even colleagues to give feedback about certain parts. The rationale is not just in terms of your position which probably supersedes them - but your position in terms of seniority. People are intimidated by things you don’t even notice. As leaders, things start becoming more difficult to handle. Amongst many things, these are the prominent issues that will rear its ugly head.
1. Difficulty coordinating between different tasks and subordinates
The increased variability in behaviours and the multitude of tasks you have to finish becomes an obstacle once non-existent. Your responsibilities as a leader grows and you now see yourself facing more tasks to handle. Take the scenario where you are faced with multiple emails, each discussing a different agenda. Unless you have a photogenic memory or people work at a predictable and scheduled pace, you will find yourself in lots of trouble.
In this unprecedented pandemic, understandings of proposals or discussions have to be in the form of emails, or virtually, which to some may be less effective. The intervals switching from different agendas may not be good enough for you to compose yourself or to focus on the next pressing task. Moreover, the behaviours and way of handling situations of your staff may differ from yours. Unlike a small-compact company size where discussions can be easily held and cultures easily ascertained, large-scale companies find themselves in more confusion than ever.
Overall, you have only 24 hours in a day and the constant backtracking and rotation of tasks may impede your performance.
2. Communication lapses begets poorer feedback mechanisms.
Given a large sample of staff under your wing, it would be easier to group them in groups and to delegate a team leader. The problem with this that the subordinates of this said group leader would be further distant from you. In bureaucratic organisations, it is difficult to send a message or feedback to the higher-ups, often navigating through multiple red-tape before it even reaches you. To most, this becomes a put-off and will thus lead them to leave the problem alone. Another scenario is that the message gets passed onto different people before they even reach your ears. By then, the message would have been lost in translation and differ from its original meaning. Some might not even make any sense.
As you start to get further apart from your staff and colleagues, your position in their eyes becomes more revered. To them, being granted a direct audience with you becomes near impossible and definitely not worth the hassle. Risk-Averse individuals would also fear giving you feedback, in case your ideology differs from theirs.
In all likelihood, individuals may be intimidated by you and will not dare challenge whatever you have put forward. Your productivity will take a hit.
3. Constant need to adapt and to undertake different roles
As more people begin to sit at your table, the way you operate changes things significantly. You will find yourself playing various roles and will be forced to be more heavy-handed in dealing with situations.
Remembering from experience, when I started to delegate tasks to other individuals, I was in a bit of a dysmorphia. It felt like a power struggle to me as I sought to retain power, contrary to the need to relinquish control. In addition, my original role of leader became less hands-on as I signed off on various projects but had little to do in the project’s design. It became quite arduous for me to adapt.
As transitions began to settle in, my behaviour became more rigid as I undertook roles once out of my job scope. While I used to be flexible in discussions, the lack of time took its toll on my flexibility as I demanded things to be done in a certain fashion.
At that juncture, morale and productivity was not at its intended peak.
Essentially, when we try to hold onto the same notion of leadership as we did in a small-scale company, we will find ourselves to be grappling with a self-induced power struggle. Micromanaging is not a good look on a leader, and it is definitely not a good way to do things.
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