Company Structure and Leadership

Company Structure

In terms of legal structure, New Mail is a Private Limited Company (Ltd) – a type of company that places restrictions of its ownership. This means that its shareholders, limited in number, cannot offer their shares to the public over a stock exchange. When the company goes out of business,
the responsibility (liability) of each shareholder is limited to the amount that they have contributed.

A Public Limited Company (Plc), on the other hand, can buy and sell shares in a stock exchange and anyone can buy them. The shareholders are only limited to the amount paid for the shares.

There are some businesses operating as Sole Proprietorships, which have no separate existence apart from their owners. They are self-employed and entirely responsible for all aspects of
the business, including its debts.

Finally, when two or more people start a business together, they set up a Partnership. All partners are then held liable for the debts of the partnership, and they share profits and losses between them.

As regards organisation, New Mail follows the traditional:

  • Hierarchical structure also called functional or line structure, with a Board of Directors and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) – also President or Managing Director (MD) – at
    the top and an increasing number of people below them at successive levels.
  • Some corporations, chiefly large multinational companies, operate on divisional structure, organising themselves around geographical regions, products or customers.
  • The rather complex matrix structure, also implemented in large multinationals, tries to combine aspects of both functional and divisional structures.
  • Finally let us also mention a more recent idea of a network of flexible teams to substitute
    the traditional departments (often at war with each other). They are formed to carry out
    a project
    , then they are dissolved and their members reassigned.

A somewhat simplified New Mail company structure might look like this:

The Board of Directors, headed by the Chairmen, Mr. Barney Smith, oversee New Mail’s policy decisions, strategy and operations. Ms. Carol Johns, the CEO, has overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company. Senior Managers (or Executive Directors) correspond in New Mail to Department Heads, who supervise smooth running of their sectors. Below them are regular employees and occasionally also Team or Project Leaders who work on particular projects and who may, in fact, report to more than one supervisor. This position is temporary and taken by various team members, depending on circumstances.

            In this kind of structure a clear line/chain of command runs down the hierarchy, with everybody knowing:

  • who their superior/boss is, who they report to,
  • who their immediate subordinates are, to whom they give instructions and/or delegate responsibilities.

We already know, however, that unlike in traditional hierarchical structures, in New Mail they have
a strong decentralisation element in the decision making process, with employees in all levels taking part in it.


Being a New Mail CEO, Carol Johns occupies a top managerial position in the company. As such, she must have excellent managerial skills and leadership qualities. And indeed, she seems to be
a good leader. Let us hear some opinions of several New Mail employees.

“Carol is a strong woman. She has her ideas of what she wants and she is able to actually do it.
I also appreciate her ability to keep calm in stressful situations.”
– Paul, Marketing Department

“I admire her sense of responsibility for what she is doing and people involved in projects. She is also open-minded – when she makes a mistake, she is able to recognise it and admit it.” – Jeff, Web Design Department

“Carol is a very good communicator. She is clear on her ideas and can enforce the rules on the one hand, but she is also able to listen to you on the other hand.” – Lori, News Portal Department

“She is confident about her decisions; she chooses her direction and just goes for it. And she can also inspire confidence in most people who follow her.” – Helen, Human Resources

Well, let us give Carol some freedom to be also an imperfect human being; however, she is
an ambitious professional and knows what it takes to be a good leader (manager, or simply a good boss). By definition, leadership is organising a group of people to achieve a common goal. Compared to other roles, however, it is unique in that it involves a great deal of responsibility for people. Good leaders motivate, encourage and inspire their followers to perform to their best potential.

Vocabulary and Useful Phrases

The CEO Carol needs to have the following leadership qualities or abilities (among others):

be proactive

think a few steps ahead and avoid potential problems

be flexible

able to adapt to new conditions and situations

be respectful and humble

treat others with respect and avoid being bossy and authoritative

be enthusiastic and passionate about her/the company’s cause

… and infect others with her enthusiasm

be interested in feedback

have her employees evaluate her performance
as a leader

have a vision and the ability to execute it

break big projects down to manageable parts

have appropriate administrative skills

… and not totally depend on administrative workers

be a good communicator and a good listener

both listen and share information

be interested in her employees professional and personal well-being

help her employees with career and personal development

avoid being a “buddy boss”

i.e. overfriendly and compromising her position and working relationship

avoid micromanaging

give enough freedom to the teams and individuals and keep away from excessive control and attention to unimportant details

be productive and result-oriented

focus on what team members want the team to achieve and how they can do that