Why Hierarchies are Necessary for Good Leaders

There are two main reasons hierarchies are necessary for good leaders – clarity and delegation. Chances are one – or both – of these reasons will resonate with you.

Let’s start with clarity. Have you ever been a part of an organization that didn’t have a clearly defined job description and organizational chart? Perhaps there was overlap between you and another employee that caused confusion – or you felt uncertain about whom to go to with specific questions. The reality is everyone needs and wants to know what lane they should be swimming in. When there’s uncertainty about their level of authority, areas of responsibility or tasks, people don’t do well. Creating a hierarchy brings clarity to each of these areas. Not only do you know your role, but you also become familiar with the roles of others – and when questions are asked, you can be confident in answering, or passing it off to the individual who could answer it.

Delegation is also key – full disclosure: I’m still working on this one. Delegating tasks isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I suspect it could be as a result of being responsible for pursuing and attaining my own goals, without anyone to delegate to, for such a long time. However, there’s more to it than that. I have this innate knowledge of how something should be done, and so I’ve learned that if I want it to be done the “right way” it’s just easier for me to do it. Furthermore, I am guilty of getting caught up in the way of thinking that the involvement of others will dilute the glory to be gained from doing something yourself.

Can you relate? I don’t think I’m alone in this – in fact, I suspect all of these reasons could be said to be common in corporate America. I also suspect that even if you’re guilty of this way of thinking, at your core you also have a strong desire to be a good leader. So how do you break the cycle? Come to terms with a simple fact: good leaders create situational opportunities for all of those under their direction. Creating a hierarchy improves the emotional condition of the workplace and the efficiency and potency of the organization.

Take a deep breath – you don’t need to have solutions to all of the problems. Creating a hierarchy will lessen your burden and incorporate the valuable talents and experiences of those you work with. That’s a winning strategy.