July 7, 2013

This new trend of bossless office intrigues me, although the idea still seems to be at its infancy and there appears to be a lot of issues still unresolved. What originally motivated the idea was the bottleneck of decision-making created by hierarchical structures.

I think what is good about a bossless environment is that: 1. It attracts self-starters in general at the hiring stage. 2. Employees don’t naturally fall into a reactive mode of waiting for orders because they know no orders would be coming down. Once they know that the orders will be coming down from the above, they would have no incentive to think about the big picture. After all, why create more work for themselves that they would not be compensated for?

I think the reason why bossless organization is more conducive to creativity is it forces people to keep a big picture in mind. Creativity requires us to connect the dots between unexpected things. When we lock ourselves into a comfortable silo, this cannot happen. Silo-ing works well for businesses that do not require many creative problem-solvers (and having more creative problem-solvers than your business requires is also a problem). But these days, any jobs/tasks that don’t require creativity are handled by machines and computers. In this sense, it makes sense to change the organizational structure to optimize for this new environment.