Having too many layers of management is almost a universal disease. Sadly many companies think the cure is more management. 

teambuilding, organization development leadership expert michael cardus

I Continue to see excess layers & honor promotions leading to made-up positions that only increase the bureaucracy and frustration of everyone in the organization.

What is hell is a ‘Deputy-Associate Vice President’?

Excessive layers within companies create a slowdown in the pace of innovation, change & communication.

Creating frustration & skipping the unnecessary layers. Going to those that can add value to the work. Managers angry with each other because they are stepping on each other’s toes & unclear where their accountability begins.

Then you wonder why you have a ‘Culture Problem’ or ‘Engagement Problem’.

The people are fine and they want to be engaged…the organizational system that you created is the problem.


Consequences of Too Many Levels of Organization
    • People & teams skipping the chain-of-command.  Bypassing their assigned manager because of excessively long lines of management.
    • Uncertainty as to where your manager actually sits on the org chart. Do you really report to your direct manager or the one above them? Or even the one above them?
    • Managers uncertainty as to where their subordinates actually sit on the org chart? Are you accountable for the output of the staff directly below you, or the ones below them as well?

Excessive paper/email/voice mail

    passing up and down too many levels – red tatapeworms

  • Tight Coupling of Manager to employee
  • Feeling that people are too close in ability & management accountability.
  • Feeling of organizational clutter;
  • Managers “looking over the shoulders / breathing down necks”;
  • Too many levels involved in any problem and process;
  • Too much interference in just getting work done;
  • Not being allowed to do the work at hand;

Friend Chris Reich from Teach U shared his insights on;

Tight Coupling:
  • Tight coupling destroys productivity of many businesses. Something minor goes wrong. A decision needs to be made. Only Joe can make the decision. Joe is out until tomorrow. HALT! If the coupling is too loose, no one understands who is in charge. So the looseness is there IF Joe can’t make an immediate decision not so that the lackeys can always go around Joe.
    This is a very big problem in government and the military especially. When the hierarchy is tightly coupled, little disturbances cause immediate paralysis.

What do you think?

How many managerial/employee levels should there be within a company? How can this be fixed?