PhysiologyWeb Logo  Search
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Email Copy URL

PhysiologyWeb Loading...

Leadership / Management Tip
Respect the chain of command.

Every employee has an obligation to keep her/his supervisor fully informed of all key decisions and day-to-day matters. Similarly, every supervisor has an obligation to inform her/his direct reports about decisions, new initiatives, and projects impacting the unit. This is easy to understand in principle. In practice, however, we all know that it is so easy to forget to properly inform others, especially when managing busy schedules and constant emergencies. An important constant self-reminder should be: Will this (decision, information, news, initiative, project, etc.) surprise my boss or my direct report(s)? Observing and respecting this two-way communication is crucial to the health of the organization, and essential to building high-trust, highly functional teams.

Chain of command should be rephrased in a more positive manner to be referred to as "domains of communication" or "two-way channels of communication."

In a highly hierarchical organization, the chain of command must be observed and obeyed, or the consequences may be severe.

In an organization where hierarchy is less structured, all employees should keep information freely flowing through two-way channels of communication to ensure that all team members are informed of key decisions, work together collaboratively and collegially, minimize surprises, and keep harmony within the organization.

The "chain" in "chain of command" expression has one advantage of reminding everyone of the sequential nature of the two-way communication pathway. This means that, in general, one or more chain links should not be bypassed as information is disseminated.

Finally, remember that "chain of command" works in both directions. Just like you wouldn't appreciate your direct report bypassing you and going to your boss, do not bypass your direct report and go to their direct reports.

Share on Facebook     Share on Twitter     Share on LinkedIn     Share on Pinterest     Email     Copy URL

Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2023
Last updated: Sunday, October 29, 2023