It sounds like an Army thing, rigid rules and regulations. Yuck. That's the kind of stuff we all hate to do. But it has an important place in business and must be understood for an organization to work well, especially if you are trying to flatten your organization, become more powerful and grow faster. Rank and chain of command is critical for smooth growth and development. Everyone in your business must know who he or she reports to. Many business owners are looking to flatten their organizations and this is one definite way to support the effort and accomplish it.
Workers must report to their team leader, the team leader to his manager, the manager to the COO and if absolutely necessary, to the owner if he is involved in on-site operations and is above the COO-i n that order. Each layer of management must have the opportunity to handle the issue and pass it up if appropriate, get back to the person with a resolution all the way up and down the chain of command until the answer is achieved and the initial employee is satisfied. Issues should be handled at the lowest possible level, elevating only if the team leader, manager or whomever can not answer the issue and thus must himself turn to the next level to get the answer and then feed it back down the chain of command to the person with the authority to discuss it with the employee.
There is no room for an employee jumping the ranks and going to whomever he or she wants, ignoring the chain of command and disrespecting the rank of higher individuals. It is inappropriate, inefficient and a waste of time and effort. It destroys the organization and prevents appropriate management skills from being implemented. If and when this happens, your chain of command must be trained to recognize an inappropriate communication intended to be handled by a lower rank and he should immediately dismiss the communication and send the person back to whom it belongs to with a slight reprimand to follow the chain of command.
The chain of command and the need to honor and follow it must be communicated from day one so everyone involved understands exactly what the chain is and who they need to report to for issues, problems, inquiries or whatever may be on their mind. Employees do not get to decide who they want to discuss their issues with or have the right and ability to discuss things with anyone they want, whenever they choose. This undermines authority and prevents smooth operations.
Let your managers manage. Let the systems control, create rank and chain of command and follow it. Train your people to understand and follow the protocol and issues will be handled smoothly and effectively. This is how it should work. This supports your organization and management design and results in order and decorum.
Yes, it is a bit like being in the Army, except in the Army, there are thousands of people to be managed and the issues may be of life and death importance, proving that this method works. If you follow the plan and do this in your businesses you will achieve similar organizational smoothness by making certain the right answers are doled out by the right people.