The Importance of a Functioning, Well-Defined Chain of Command

The chain of command refers to an organizational structure that is built upon various levels of authority in a company from the CEO down to the workers. It establishes the hierarchy of the company.  The purpose of the chain of command is to provide workers at all levels with a supervisor to whom they can ask questions or report problems. The chain of command is also a means by which instructions flow downward and accountability upward. No matter how large or small a company is, it is important to have a well-defined chain of command to keep the business running smoothly.

Structured Grouping

One advantage of a solid chain of command is structured grouping.  This means that employees are put into smaller groups with specific tasks for each group.  Then, there is a supervisor or manager assigned to assess and monitor the performance of their group.  Each employee in the group reports to a manager who then reports to the director or department head.  These organized groups allow managers to focus solely on those tasks that are specific to their department, making it easier to manage and ensure employees are doing their jobs.

Increased Efficiency

When employees are grouped into smaller departments, it allows the managers and supervisors to keep a closer watch on employee performance, paying greater attention to detail.  If a manager is assigned to look over too many tasks, they can easily become overwhelmed and forced to devote limited attention to individual areas. Ultimately, a well-defined chain of command leads to higher quality performance, greater service, and increased productivity. 

Clear Lines of Communication

When direct supervisors are in place to manage smaller staff groups, this provides a communication link between employees and higher management.  As a result, information can accurately be passed down from higher authorities all the way down to the employees. 

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is an inevitable part of any business and there are times when managers will have to step in and solve problems.  With a designated chain of command in place,managers can directly handle conflicts and alleviate higher management from having to deal with departmental issues. Likewise, there are times when an employee might be having an issue with a supervisor.  In this instance it is helpful to have a defined chain of command so the employee can reach out to the supervisor’s boss. 

Creates Career Paths

Having a functional chain of command also makes it easier to create clear career paths for employees.  Employees are more motivated when they know they have the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder.  This improves employee morale and leads to lower turnover.