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Mindful Leadership

A Matrix Organization Requires Mindful Leadership

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A matrix structure is very common and very few organization can pull it off. The common complaints range from no true ownership of the work being done and, therefore, no work satisfaction, to, too many bosses that can never be pleased.

There are two key issues with this structure. The first is that in order to have accountability one must also have responsibility. I know the arguments used, the principle one being that seasoned individuals need to be able to use influence. That is indeed true. Influence is critical in any role. However, without resources that report to you, when there are competing demands or politics rears its ugly head, influence doesn’t go far.

The other issue is one of trust. Without trust a matrix structure can not work. There is so much ambiguity and so many competing demands that the individuals across groups need to trust one another. They need to trust that the other person will do the right thing, without playing politics.

Does this mean that matrix organizations can never work? Not at all, the key requirement is that the organization needs to be populated with Mindful leaders.

Mindful leaders create trust and they do so, because they are comfortable in their skin. They are confident in their own abilities and they know they don’t have all the answers. Therefore, they seek to surround themselves with talented people. In so doing, they also give these people enough room to do the work and they give them credit for their work. This engenders trust.

As we know, actions speak louder than words. A Mindful leader’s actions speak volumes and it gets noticed. If there is a critical mass, with a sufficient number of Mindful leaders, the organization begins to develop a culture where a matrix structure can work effectively.

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