Fact: too many direct reports hinders the quality and efficiency of both the leader and the team. Question: 'how many is 'too' many?' I have heard Andy Stanley speak on this issue and I believe he states that he can only manage a maximum of six. Even that number seems large.
In a recent interview the new Athletic Director of the University of Tennessee stated: "...the governed structure I've preferred though out my career is one where you have a smaller leadership team..." He goes on to say that a smaller team of direct reports insures accountability and better communication.
It has been said many times: 'an organization's and leader's most important commodity is its people.
A team of six or less allows the leader to invest quality time in the lives of the team. It also gives opportunity for more 'one-on-one' communication and better accountability to strategy, projects and tactical moves.
My team today consists of five direct reports. I like the size of this because:
it allows me the time to meet with them one-on-one each week, outside of staff meetings. (I set aside an hour each week for each member.)
it allows me the opportunity to empower them to lead teams. If I don't lead all the people on our teams someone has to. So here I am able to train team members to be leaders.
It allows me time to work on my own projects.
How big is the team you lead? Does the size of your team need to change?