3. Understanding Chain of Command


Understanding Chain of Command

Revised: 19 May 2016 by @GreatJackal


In any organization, the chain of command refers to levels of authority held by each level from the top position, such as a Leader, down to troops on the front line. Good clans institute a chain of command to provide members at all levels with a supervisor to whom they may ask questions or report problems. An effective chain of command also spreads out the work involved with running the organization, so the weight is not just on the leader’s shoulders.
Establishment of the Hierarchy
The chain of command establishes the clan hierarchy. Leadership (gold stars) occupy the top tier in DI’s chain of command. Senior Officers (silver stars) report directly to the Leadership of the clan. Junior Officers (bronze stars) report to Senior Officers, and members report to Junior Officers. Each clan establishes its own hierarchy or organizational structure, which is the basis for a chain of command. All members in the clan recognize the structure of the organization when following a chain of command.
Responsibility and Authority
Each members on the chain of command is responsible for a particular area of the running the clan. For example, Junior Officers acting as Team Leaders in a Division must ensure that members complete goals and objectives assigned to the team by the Division Commander, while Senior Officers and Leadership establish the high-level direction the clan takes. For example, a Division Commander may develop a plan to improve that Divisions recruitment rate and its expansion, but Team Leaders directing the activities of members execute this higher level plan. When a member doesn’t follow the established chain of command, he undermines the authority of his direct supervisor. Therefore the chain of command should not be broken, unless an issue involves the direct supervisor in a bad way or the supervisor is not online to manage the issue.
An established chain of command creates efficiency when reporting problems or communicating with members. For example, when a member communicates a problem directly to his/her Division Commander, the Commander doesn’t have an opportunity to correct the problem. Division Commanders, while familiar with higher-level strategies issued by Leadership and planning involving them, aren’t prepared to correct operational issues or the day-to-day activities of front-line members, which is why competent Team Leaders are essential to the running of Divisions. It’s more efficient to direct complaints or report problems or even report good things like progress or updates on the objectives to the officer at the lowest level before escalating the issue to Senior Officers or Leadership.
Effect on Morale
When members frequently ignore the chain of command, it may affect the morale of Junior and Senior Officers. Clans without a clear chain of command can create an atmosphere of uncertainty and chaos, which affects the morale of all members in the clan. Poor clan morale may lead to high member turnover and lower activity, which is the deathbed for any clan that isnt careful.
It is important that as an Officer, whether Junior or Senior, take the Chain of Command seriously. As a Junior Officer you should not be PMing the Leadership directly, unless the problem involves your Commander in a bad way or they are not online for instance. You should also enforce the Chain of Command within your team or division. But like all things, Chain of Command can be overdone. So being clear on expectations whilst also remaining flexible is important, for example:
A member should be able to go either his Team 2nd-in-Command OR the Team Leader. Just as a Team Leader should be able to go to either the Division VIce OR Commander (depending on urgency/importance etc). However, DI allows its officers to set their own rules within their teams/divisions, so the above example is just a recommendation.