The term "chain of command" describes any supervisory or organizational structure that incorporates levels of management and departmental supervision. In such scenarios, employees report to a direct supervisor, supervisors report to upper management and management reports to corporate headquarters. No matter how small or large your company is, the advantages of a chain of command management structure can keep your employees happy and your business running smoothly.
A solid chain of command system applied to workplace administration ensures the overall structure of the company. Most strategies include assembling employees into groups with names that specify individual categories of tasks, with a direct supervisor assigned to monitor the performance for each group. For instance, in the restaurant industry, groups include servers, bartenders, kitchen help and maintenance workers. Each group must report to an assigned supervisor of its specific department -- such as a bar manager, head chef, banquet captain or chief custodian -- who reports to the general manager.
Businesses that have numerous departments and categories of productivity can benefit considerably from a well-structured chain of command. With multiple supervisors in place to monitor individual staff groups, closer attention to detail, productivity and personal attention to employee performances are increased. A manager who must monitor several aspects of the business may become overwhelmed or devote limited attention to individual areas. Assigning department managers to supervise employees and report to general managers or CEOs can save time and money and increase service quality and profit.
Communication between employees and management is a key component of running a successful business. When direct supervisors are in place to manage specific staff groupings, this provides a liaison between employees and higher management that can accurately convey information from -- or about -- staff members to higher authorities. Also, having a direct department supervisor can often alleviate higher management from dealing with departmental issues by providing on-site resolutions to employee problems and concerns.
Though you may always try to get along with your manager, and should address a direct supervisor with any work-related concerns, sometimes employees find that it is in fact the supervisor who is causing the problem. When a chain of command management system is applied in the workplace, you often can combat a difficult, unreasonable, unfair or incompetent supervisor by going over his head. It is advised to initially confront your department head with such concerns, but when such efforts are futile you can usually direct your concerns to your supervisor's direct authority figure.