Will You Still Need A Boss In A Distributed Workforce?
This first appeared on Forbes on August 28, 2021.
The last 18 months have turned many traditional ideas about how work should be structured on its head. From days in the office to working hours of the day, to finding new ways to collaborate and make decisions — employers and employees quickly pivoted. Now, the divisive topic of conversation is around those companies who are happy keeping a distributed workforce (such as Facebook), and those who are demanding their people return to the office as soon as it is safe – such as Apple.
A notable difference between those two stances is the associated leadership model. A distributed workforce could lead to distributed networks of power. Onsite, it could be easier to reinforce traditional hierarchy structures. Noted journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell spoke at this year's Adobe Summit to provide a balanced take on both traditional hierarchies and flat distributed networks. Business leaders should consider the pros and cons of both when deciding what model works best for their people.