Employees who work under matrix management report to several bosses instead of just one. It introduces a system where employees have multiple superiors along both function and project lines, replacing most firms’ one-boss, vertical system.
Employees from various functional divisions are distributed among product/project teams under a matrix management system, where they can collaborate with coworkers from other functional divisions. For instance, employees from engineering, sales, and customer success may collaborate to deliver a project or product in a particular team.
When hiring or promoting employees, organizations traditionally give preference to the technical and interpersonal skills of each applicant.
Along with having the necessary soft skills and mindset, successful leaders in the Matrix Middle need to be visionaries. The following five soft skill areas will show you what it takes to succeed in a matrix leadership role.
Employees working in a matrix management structure report to several bosses instead of just one. It introduces a system where employees have multiple superiors along both function and project lines. It does away with the one boss and the vertical system that most firms employ.
Employees from various functional divisions are assigned to product/project teams under a matrix management system, allowing them to collaborate with coworkers from various functional divisions. For instance, a project or product may involve cooperation between members of the engineering, sales, and customer success teams.
The primary justification for matrix management is that it is more effective than the conventional vertical management structure.
The CEO sits at the top of a vertical management structure, followed by supervisors in the middle and regular employees in various divisions who answer to one supervisor at the bottom.
How Matrix Management Operates in Real Life.
Matrix management’s effectiveness is largely demonstrated by how it is applied. Companies that use the matrix management style are typically organized along functional, product/project, or geographic lines.
As part of the matrix management system, each employee will report to at least two managers: the heads of their respective functional divisions and the project manager.
For instance, the finance employee will report to the project manager for the graphics card and the head of finance for the blockbuster graphics project.
Matrix Organizational Structure Advantages And Disadvantages
Matrix Organizational Structure Advantages
Skills and competencies combined
Working collaboratively with individuals from various departments makes it possible to solve issues more quickly. Each employee’s exposure to various roles outside of their primary job contributes to their overall development. More technical and soft skills are acquired as a result.
Flexibility in the work
Employees may be moved to new tasks or projects after the project is finished or the product is phased out. Because of this, employees’ work will be more flexible and less monotonous.
Matrix management, in contrast to popular belief, actually encourages innovation. Employees from various backgrounds will be included on project teams, allowing them to approach issues from various angles. Creating a product or project is infused with dynamic thinking as a result.
Employee morale may increase under the matrix management structure as people collaborate to accomplish common objectives.
Matrix Organizational Structure Disadvantages
Conflicts and dual reporting
The possibility of double reporting creating conflicts and misunderstandings in a company with a matrix management structure is another problem that might arise. Employees have to deal with various bosses who operate in various ways.
The decision-making process is slow.
Two or more managers must review decisions under the matrix management system.
This can significantly slow down decision-making and impact how quickly work is completed.
Possible Loss of Responsibility
Accountability concerns may arise when a company implements a system that requires employees to report to or collaborate with several managers.
The manager of the particular functional division is easily held responsible for the division’s faults in the typical, traditional hierarchical structure. For instance, the HR Manager will be held accountable if the division performs below expectations.
Yet, the matrix management organization has two or even more supervisors, making it challenging to assign responsibility to a specific division or person.
To master the matrix, follow these suggestions
Gaining knowledge from others
Allowing others to share their expertise and take responsibility for their activities is crucial if you manage projects that demand high integration and expertise.
Instead of merely emphasizing their specific skills and experience, candidates must show a positive attitude toward learning from others.
Utilizing technology to communicate.
Communication effectively via technology is essential in a matrix because we frequently work with colleagues virtually. To test this, some of our clients conduct the first interviews over the phone. Others request that candidates use online meeting tools to present.
Instead of speaking to people in person, candidates must be able to project themselves online and engage others.
This is more than just the ability to handle and distribute many emails or participate in extended conference calls.
Relationship to the larger business
Leaders in the matrix must be able to leave their silos and view the wider picture. Learning from others and being aware of the potential effects of your actions on other areas of the business are both important components of risk reduction.
The more informal internal and external networks that individuals can create and maintain, the larger their scope of connections and visibility within the company, the more perspective they will have.
Determine Your Roles and Associations in the Matrix
A matrix organization functions in both vertical and horizontal dimensions. Leaders play many roles in both dimensions.
The coach and the direct report are the vertical jobs that people are most familiar with.
Your direct reports may occasionally be in different places as you coach other leaders and yourself.
In this position, you must make sure that your direct reports can succeed by assisting them in making promises that they can fulfill and that is in line with the organizational strategy and by assisting them in developing the skills the company needs.
Horizontal jobs produce and provide clients with goods and services. These include internal suppliers/customers, team members, stakeholders, sponsors, and team leaders (of a project, product, or governance team). In these positions, it is your duty to foster relationships while achieving organizational, team, and individual goals.
Leading as an Adult with Power
Everyone around us is impacted by our mental condition. When we are provoked, we either want to control the people and things around us and act like bullies, or we feel under control and act like victims. Both of these situations are powerless.
You must lead from an empowered adult state if you want to inspire and motivate your team to be innovative and creative.
When you deal with people, you can decide how to think and behave because you are an empowered adult. You make the decision not to get upset easily or take things personally. Also, you help others get out of a powerless position when you notice them.
You must manage your sphere of control if you want to lead as an empowered adult, and you must understand that the only things you can control are your attitude, your actions, and your reactions.
Listening to and interacting with others
The expertise of those in jobs or activities that they individually have little direct experience with must often be tapped by matrix leaders, who regularly have to engage resources and people over whom they have no direct authority. Verify your abilities to interact with and pay attention to others.
Ask applicants to explain how they would organize, lead, and conclude a typical team meeting. Here, it’s important to compare the actions of the participants and the leader at each level.
It is a good indication of participants’ relative level of participation if all they have to do is show up and then do the tasks that have been set.
The ability to coach and empower people to solve their problems is a core trait for matrix leaders, so look for ways to gauge their capacity to harness the abilities of others.
Building capability closer to where the problems are is a critical precept for moving faster in a global environment.
Fill in any competency gaps you find
Coaching, training, and tonnes of practice can all help you get better at self-awareness, empathy, managing conflict, and influence.
Take a proactive stance and begin looking for ways to improve and hone these talents if you feel that you need assistance in one or more of these areas. And don’t be shy about seeking advice on any potential gaps you may have.
The traditional command and control hierarchy is rapidly eroding in today’s business environment.
Working in some integrated organizational structure or matrix is a reflection of this ambition as businesses race to the top rather than the bottom of the value chain, so we need to acknowledge this and prepare for it.
To adapt to this change, a new generation of business leaders must be able to see the big picture and the “One Company” concept, control more directly by empowering others, set an exemplary example, and support people in maintaining their focus and self-assurance in the face of uncertainty and constant change.
Our chances of success will skyrocket if we select and promote leaders based on their capacity to influence and model these behaviors effectively.
More To Explore:
- Skill Will Matrix Guide: When To Use, Benefits, Case Study
- Organizational Structure: Types And Examples
- TOWS Matrix: Your Guide to Strategic Planning
- Project Management For Small Businesses: A Guide
- What Are Organizational Silos? Tips For A Cohesive Workplace
“Vision, strategy, and inspiration – these three words describe me the best. I am the founder of “TheLeaderboy” dedicated to leadership and personal development. As a self-taught practitioner, I have been studying the principles of effective leadership for the past decade and my passion lies in sharing my insights with others. My mission is to empower individuals to become better leader