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The flexible hierarchy of Navy SEALs

Hierarchy remains the best way to manage organisations, but it needs to be flexible enough to make staff at all levels feel empowered.

We’re stuck with hierarchy, says Lindy Greer, associate professor of management and organisations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Until there’s an effective alternative, the best way to mitigate the rigidity of chain of command is to build flexibility into its structure like the Navy SEALs do. Interviewed for MIT Sloan Management Review, Greer explains how to build a flexible hierarchy.


All organisations need some kind of leadership structure. Hierarchy is simple – it makes it easy to design ways for groups to work together, makes it easier to quantify job roles, and it makes hiring more specific.

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Source Article: Why Teams Still Need Leaders
Author(s): Lindy Greer, interviewed by Frieda Klotz