Does the Federal Government Need Managers?

Imagine a federal government with no managers, executives, supervisors, bosses or titles. Imagine a federal holocracy-an organization where authority and decision making are distributed through self-organizing teams rather than a hierarchy.

One such organization that is making this “outside the box” approach work is Zappos, an online shoe and clothing company.

You are probably thinking to yourself how can anything get done in an organization without a manager. Managerless does not mean leaderless. At Zappos, 400 circles, the equivalent of teams lead this 21st Century institution by: (1) creating rules of engagement; (2) monitoring the quality of work; (3) deciding how people are held accountable and (4) determining distribution of tasks. No longer are senior leaders needed to get into the weeds. Micro-management goes out the window.

There are those that don’t buy into the holocracy model. They claim that managers are needed in order to:
• Leverage direction and recognition of their subordinates.
• Coach, teach and develop their people.
• Hold direct reports accountable.
• Assume their share of the responsibility for employee engagement.

Others argue that a “no boss environment” can not only replace a management workplace but can actually do things better. For example in a holocracy:

• Coaching becomes everyone’s responsibility in an organic way.
• Teamwork and continuous improvement is more of a priority.
• Bureaucracy does not get in the way of growth.
• Learning becomes part of everyone’s job.

Generation Z’ers may have a lot to say about whether holocracy is just another passing fad or the workplace of the future. Called the Home Depot and Do Itself Generation by thought leaders, this kind of entrepreneurial type work environment is just what the doctor ordered for the newest generation entering the workforce.

Back to the original question of whether this egalitarian method of self-governance would work with the feds. Isn’t it at least worth a try? Let’s face it. Is our current approach really working?

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