Ground Rules for Solid and Dotted Line Relationships

Solid and dotted line relationships are a core component of the matrix structure, but they are often a source of confusion - especially for those who are new to the matrix! Here we will share some key ground rules for successfully navigating these relationships, based on the four Building Blocks outlined in Master the Matrix. But first, let's have a look at the discrete responsibilities that solid and dotted line managers have, as well as the overlap between their roles: As you can see, some of the most important tasks lie in the overlap zone! So, how to navigate this overlap? Here are a few key rules:

  For the Solid/Dotted Manager

  • Learn
to
share:

You
do
not
“own”
the
employee;
 they
are
a
shared
resource.

  • Build
 the
 partnership:
Without
 trust
 between
 the
 two
 managers,
 the
 connec&on
 will
 splinter
 and
fall
apart.

  • Get
 roles
 clear:
 
Know
 why
 the
 matrix
 role
 is
 in
 place
 and
 define
 your
 role
 vis
 a
 vis
 the
 other
 manager,
 but
 remember
 that
 role
 clarity
 doesn’t
 replace
trust.

  • Go
 slow
 to
 go
 fast:
Include,
 involve,
 inform
 the
 other
manager.

It
will
help
you
pick
up
speed
in
 the
long
run.