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Can You Handle Working Without a Boss?


It’s the fondest daydream of everyone with a bad boss: “What if I didn’t have a boss at all?” For some workers at companies with flat hierarchies, this dream is coming true. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?


(Photo Credit: oddsock/Flickr)

“We have strong leaders throughout our organization,” Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations tells CareerBliss. “They just don’t wait for a promotion, a title or bigger desk to take the lead on an issue important to the team.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

In practice, this means that “natural leaders” tend to step up and influence the decisions of the larger team. So while there’s no one who’s officially the boss, there is a person in charge: the person with the most charisma and (hopefully) the best ideas.

Would you be happy at a company without bosses? Consider the following:


  • You feel ownership. Say goodbye to meetings where the organizer drones on and on about their PowerPoint presentation. In an flat hierarchy, everyone is expected to contribute. That’s not great if you’re someone who wants to hide during the meeting, but at least you’ll never be bored. And your contributions will really matter.
  • The team has to help you succeed. In this corporate structure, every team is only as good as its weakest member. Ideally, that means there’s little incentive to try to make you look bad, or let you founder with a problem.


  • If your coworkers don’t like you, say goodbye to that raise. “If someone wants to move up our ladder of 15 pay grades, they ask the team for support and feedback to do so. A team member asks feedback from their peers,” says Sheridan. Sounds great — as long as your coworkers are as interested in helping you succeed as they’re supposed to be.
  • There’s no such thing as a promotion. “If you wouldn’t be happy having the same job title for years then a flat organization will probably hinder your happiness,” Ritika Trikha writes at CareerBliss. It’s also a potential resume challenge down the road, should you decide to apply for work at a more traditional organization.

Tell Us What You Think

Could you work without a boss? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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