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Keeping Things Flat

About Work Structures

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
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An AI Archway Created By The Author

Introduction

This is very unusual for me, I don't share my workplace anywhere on Social Media apart from the odd interesting office photograph.

I once wrote a piece for a Vocal Challenge which all my work colleagues loved and they are impressed with my writing and publications but that is just an aside to this.

So Why Keep It Flat?

Over the years I have worked for many companies and every company has some form of management structure, some sort of pyramid based on titles and remuneration, and generally, that's the way it has to be.

Even if the company is run by a team, that team is the company's manager. Below that are other titles and pay scales that drop down to the people at the bottom of the scale.

In the main image for this story, you see a brick archway. The keystone is the manager and without that, the structure would eventually fail. However without all the supporting bricks, the keystone would be irrelevant, and in any company, without all the workers performing, the management would be irrelevant too.

So back to the main point, I have worked in many companies where I have been scolded and disciplined for daring to speak to managers more than a level above my position. Often those managers would come to me because they knew how knowledgeable and diligent I was, but it still gave certain managers an excuse to hit out at me. Luckily I was always able to defend myself and often fed back to the people I had helped what had happened, and I believe that had an effect.

The thing is the pyramidal management hierarchy was reflected in the communication hierarchy and I do not believe that is a good thing.

I joined a company just before the millennium and they originally had a flat communication structure, and I am still good friends with many of the managers and former colleagues who were there. The company no longer exists, they were bought by someone else and their identity was completely lost.

Ten years ago I took redundancy from a company that had a pyramid communication structure and in my period worked with the company below and spent a bit of time pricing records for Oxfam in Jesmond convincing myself that I could never work in retail. These two companies had a flat communication structure, so I could speak to anyone on a level playing field, and they listened to me and I to them.

Then I got an email that I had been selected for an interview at my current company. This confused me because I did not remember applying, and more unusually did not prepare for the interview. The interview went well, and I was offered the job, which was a basic system administrator but I realized that I needed to do far more than that, and so I have grown the responsibilities of my post over the ten years I have been here.

This is probably the longest I have worked for the same company, and as I say in one-to-one meetings I never wake up and worry about going to work. I really do not see myself ever working for anyone else.

One of the reasons for that is that they have a completely flat communication structure, which means I know I can speak to anyone from the top manager down, and speak regularly with managers way above my grade because we accept that we are all working together to deliver the products that we need to.

People have no fear of talking to anyone although sometimes people are wary of contacting me because I control a lot of system access, but I tell them to just give me a video call.

Conclusion

A flat communication system brings everyone in a company together. Everyone is made to feel equal, and that results in a perfect place to work and delivers excellent results.

Thank you for reading

The music is Captain Beefheart's "Hard Working Man", the rhythm provided by a car body press.

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About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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Comments (4)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran3 months ago

    Oh my, I'm just so glad you were able to stand up for yourself! I don't like the pyramid hierarchy either. It's just not fair!

  • I've worked with bishops & district superintendents (& others before becoming a minister) who were very collegial with very open communication styles. I've known others who weren't. Guess which ones I still look up to today.

  • Mother Combs3 months ago

    💚

  • Mariann Carroll3 months ago

    The pyramid structure system is never affective. Do you see any pharaohs still living today? Their line of succession got cut off. Working with kids, the NYS Childcare industry came up with a pyramid system, and it was not successful either. I like that you don’t bring up subjects that need some improvement. Sharing your knowledge is very empowering. Thank you for being authentic you, Mike. That’s what make you endearing 💕

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