Top heavy management?

中国日报网 2015-06-30 13:47



Reader question:

Top heavy management?

Please explain "top heavy management". What does "top heavy" mean exactly?

My comments:

It means, for one thing, your company has too many managers.

That's one of the things we can usually be sure of when we talk about a top-heavy company or a top-heavy government office, which is a bureaucracy.

First of all, management refers to the collective leadership of a business company or a government bureaucracy. In other words, management consists of all the people who are in charge, who run (manage) the day to day operations. They include, in the case of a company, a president, one of more vice presidents and middle managers who control smaller groups, such as personnel, production, marketing and what other departments have you.

Therefore, if a company's management is top heavy, it probably has quite a few vice presidents and a whole bunch of middle managers in charge of a whole bunch of departments, some likely even redundant.

Top heavy, you see, refer to anything that's lopsided with the top side looking considerably larger and heavier than the lower side. A tree with a large canopy, for instance, looks top-heavy.

In the case with a tree, of course, its top heavy branches don't make it unbalanced because it has equally large and strong roots hidden underground.

With management, however, top heavy is an imbalance that usually leads to problems. To have too many managers in a company, you see, is like having too many cadres in a government office. It leads to low efficiency.

Having a disproportionally large number of managers is probably the direct result of inefficiency, plus incompetence, in the first place. There's the saying, you know, that describes the situation perfectly – as follows: Those who can, do; those who can't, manage.

In a true bureaucracy, that's exactly what happens. You make people who can do the work do all the work and those who can't do anything you make them managers.

As a result, especially in the long run, this leads to the situation where you have people who don't know the business control those who do. And that leads to all sorts of problems, obviously.

On top of that, managers usually get paid a much higher salary than the average worker or office holder, which breeds resentment and hurt worker morale even more.

In short, "top heavy" implies imbalance and perhaps unfairness. Perhaps nothing, unfairness for sure. Most of the time, at any rate.

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