Matrix Working

Skills and tools for individuals who need to succeed in a matrix organization

People working in a matrix have multiple bosses, competing demands on their time and higher levels of uncertainty. Success in matrix working requires higher level of self-leadership and ownership of your own goals and role. At Global Integration our matrix working training can help you develop the mindset and skill set you need to succeed in order to navigate this complex form of organization.

What is different about this style of working?

"Matrix working"The term ‘matrix working’ can refer either to people with more than one boss or, in the broader sense, to working across functions and geography to deliver work.

Depending on your matrix, people may need to work across barriers of distance, cultures, time zones and organizational complexity and where most communication is done through technology.

As work increasingly cuts across the traditional vertical silos of function and geography, matrix working becomes the norm for more and more managerial and professional people.


Global Integration’s matrix working training programs focus on the skills that individuals need to be successful in their work environment. The precise mix of these skills will depend on the particular design and complexity of your organization structure.

Individuals working in a matrix often need to be able to:

  • exercise their own leadership on goal and role clarity – once you have two bosses you may be the only person with a full understanding of your role;
  • create alignment of functional and cross business goals and align with others in matrix teams;
  • establish and run a network to help get things done;
  • manage more than one boss, particularly for goal setting and performance evaluation;
  • work without traditional hierarchical authority;
  • prioritize between competing demands on time from different legs of the organization structure;
  • escalate appropriately but without appearing incompetent;
  • collaborate with colleagues in complex virtual and global team;
  • build trust with people you may not meet face-to-face and who may come from other cultures and locations;
  • communicate through technology to create participation and engagement;
  • cope with higher levels of conflict;
  • stay visible to colleagues when working remotely – avoiding “out of sight, out of mind”;
  • communicate confidence to your leaders to enable them to empower you more and to leave you alone.

Individuals who don’t have the mindset and skill set to cope with this level of complexity tend either to experience work overload, or initiate very frequent escalation. This can undermine managers’ faith in the capability of the individual and lead to increased control, delay, additional costs and dissatisfaction.

image: matrix working model diagram

Our training can help build the capability and confidence necessary for matrix working success.

Using the escalation tracking tool to identify and plug capability gaps has really worked well for me. People can solve problems for themselves and I get fewer calls at home

Manufacturing Director, FMCG

It was amazing. All I did was ask if it was a good use of the company’s resources and my time to come all the way from Los Angeles to the meeting in London for a one hour section in the meeting. Everyone readily agreed that it wasn’t! I joined the meeting by phone for my specific item. I saved two days of my time and over £5,000 in expenses.

Marketing Manager, Telecoms Equipment Industry

Why not…..?

  • Request our white paper on matrix management, or our landmark ‘matrix organizations’ article.
  • Join our LinkedIn group to join the conversation and share ideas with others interested in this field.

There are handy forms on the right of this page (on most devices) to request more information or to contact our closest office to speak to a specialist. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.


Last updated July 2014

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