What is horizontal management?
Publié le 10 Sep 2018

What is horizontal management?

Horizontal management is a new way of managing personnel within a company. This is based on the specific needs of each employee. The objective is to integrate these into the decision-making process of the company. This will help motivate employees, but also increase their productivity. This new method of supervising personnel has new advantages.

Interim Managers are ideal stakeholders for setting up a horizontal management system within a company. This strategic project, which affects one of the main pillars of your company, but also the sensitivity of your employees, must be led by an expert in change and organization.

How does horizontal management increase business performance?

“85% of companies believe that innovation should be at the heart of a company’s development strategy. However, companies devote only 10% of their time to the search for innovation. Source: FIFG

Horizontal management refers to an innovative approach , while reducing as much as possible the distance that is created between senior managers and employees. The objective of this management is to eliminate intermediate hierarchical levels. As a result, all decision-making concerns both the executive and the employees.

Horizontal management: Advantages and disadvantages

Horizontal management has a number of advantages, both collective and individual. The implementation of this management method is ideal for:

  • Improve the well-being of employees at work,
  • Simplify and streamline exchanges during decision-making,
  • Increase business performance,
  • Adapt to changes in the business world.
  • To do so, each level of the company will have to undergo a real transformation. Several essential steps are necessary to put this type of organization:
  • Make an inventory,
  • Define the objectives as well as the strategic challenges,
  • Define an action plan,
  • Deconstruct the old model and change its practices,
  • Install collaborative digital tools,
  • Train the teams,
  • Redefining the role of the manager,
  • Hire an interim manager.

Horizontal management: The advantages

As mentioned above, horizontal management offers a number of advantages. Among these, it is possible to affirm that:

  • Exchanges and information circulate more quickly,
  • Employees can all take initiatives more easily,
  • The teams are getting stronger
  • Employees are motivated
  • Employees feel better within the company.

Horizontal management: The disadvantages

Even if the advantages are numerous, horizontal management still has its limits. Here are the disadvantages that we find in this organization:

  • Difficult to adapt to large companies,
  • Essential to practice this method within a framework, by setting up a concise organization,
  • This method can lead to a lack of precise vision, so it is crucial to clearly identify the people responsible for the final decision.

How to set up a horizontal management?

The implementation of horizontal management requires a deep questioning of the organizational structure of a company. It is therefore essential to start with a deconstruction of old established patterns in order to introduce new horizontal practices.

For this, it is possible to:

  • Federate a collaborative mindset within the company. Mutual assistance and listening are at the heart of the subject in order to create a climate of trust and respect between all employees.
  • Reorganize the different workspaces to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  • Establish a new mode of horizontal communication with a normalized and benevolent dialogue.
  • Eliminate the different levels of intermediate management.
  • Clearly define the habits and behaviors adopted in response to this new organization within the company.
  • Reduce formalism and simplify long and complex procedures.

Through horizontal management , the role of the manager has fundamentally changed. Indeed, he went from the function of manager and decision-maker to that of “coaching”. It is therefore essential that he gets rid of all authoritarianism in order to gain the trust of his various teams.

He must also forge solid links that ensure the natural commitment and genuine motivation of employees. The objective is for all managers to be present to support, help, listen, encourage autonomy and value the contribution of each employee.

Horizontal and vertical management: differences

We know that horizontal management is the total opposite of the more classic management that we know as vertical management. But what are their real differences between these two types of management ?

vertical management

Vertical management is also known as ” pyramid management “. It is a hierarchical organization system operating according to a top-down decision-making model. With this system, managers have direct authority over their teams and are the sole decision-makers regarding the missions and objectives of their employees.

This way of organizing the company puts enormous pressure on the shoulders of managers while stifling the talent as well as the curiosity of all employees. Pyramid schemes are static while maintaining the status quo. Vertical management offers outdated or erroneous management perspectives that can seriously affect the whole of society.

horizontal management

Horizontal management consists in developing the manager’s missions in order to ensure the role of facilitator. Simply put, he goes from supervisor to mentor. He listens to all the members of his team and uses his expertise to help them find ideal solutions to each of their problems.

All the manager’s interventions are no longer based on the results, but rather on the work process. It promotes initiatives that encourage the participation as well as the application of each employee.

This concept is still too minority in the business world. However, it remains very well suited to the collaborative approach to work, especially in a world of start-ups where horizontal management is developing.

Natural management in recent structures

Collaborative or horizontal management is a relatively recent type of management . It is distinguished by the relational proximity of the executive and employees in decision-making. It tends to suppress intermediate levels.
It has been shown that this organization is efficient and that it brings human and financial advantages to the company.
This working method is natural in a start-up and in VSMEs. In large companies or older SMEs, the implementation is complex, even impossible if the Manager limits himself to using the skills at his disposal.

The limits of pyramid management and digital transformation

The pyramid system is now strongly challenged by the digital revolution . Communication has changed a lot in recent years. It is fast and it spreads in multiple forms and media: email, SMS, MMS, chat, instant messaging or social networks. The work documents themselves are dematerialized and shared in a cloud. Each participant then contributes to enriching the single document by contributing their own expertise. The fields of intervention and the limits are respected by all. This framework is referred to as matrix management . This is one of the adaptations of participatory management.

Transform the organization of your company

Have you faced this situation yourself? Do you know the weaknesses of the classic hierarchical system? Do you consider it slow and unsuited to current communication, decision-making and the launch and follow-up of action plans ? Do you want to move towards a matrix and horizontal organization?
It is a bold and sensitive project. Poorly presented, it will lead to resistance among the teams of Managers. Intermediate Managers will quickly understand that their current responsibilities will disappear. They will cease to be recipients of company directives that filter information according to certain criteria.
Employees under their command will soon self-manage their schedules based on the needs of other departments’ projects. To succeed in this phase of change in your company, call on a Transition Manager.

The benefits of Transition Management

Transition Managers are experts in their area of expertise.
They agree to lead specific and often strategic time-limited projects. They are effective from the first days in order to carry out the mission entrusted to them. They begin by establishing a precise and rigorous diagnosis and propose a work schedule.
As part of the implementation of a horizontal and collaborative management , the Transition Managers control the correct installation and use of the new communication tools. They will explain the role of each. Intermediate Managers will become true facilitators listening to their employees.

The motivations of Interim Managers

Endowed with a remarkable adaptability, the Interim Managers integrate quickly into the teams in place. They communicate clearly about the project, the objective to be achieved and the benefits for the company.
Interim Managers are motivated by the missions they fulfill. They are not careerists. The teams in place quickly perceive that the Transition Managers come to help each person to position themselves in the new organization.

Our Transition Management firm offers you a large pool of qualified and seasoned Managers in different types of management . They are Managing Directors , Finance , Production, Purchasing and Supply , Information Systems , Human Resources, etc. Immediately available, they bring you extensive operational experience, sector, market or country expertise, specific functional skills and experience of comparable situations to develop your whole company.

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