Magazine article Talent Development

Managing the Matrix: Managers of Matrixed Staff, Take Heed

Magazine article Talent Development

Managing the Matrix: Managers of Matrixed Staff, Take Heed

Article excerpt

Most people who ply their trades in the United States spend at least some of their time working across multiple teams and with peers who might report to different managers than them. Gallup calls this a "matrixed" work environment. According to Gallup's 2017 report, The State of the American Workplace, 84 percent of American workers are matrixed to some extent.

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Why would employers structure their workforces that way? Bill Catlette, executive coach, management adviser, and author of Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, says matrixed environments can "put staff resources closer to customers, match the project team structure that the younger half of the workforce grew accustomed to in school, and allow organizations to move people in and out of assignments at a higher rate."

Those benefits, however, come with a caveat: Managing matrixed workers might require more skill than managing conventional ones. Compared with traditional employees, matrixed staff are less likely to know what's expected of them at work or trust their co-workers to get work done. …

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