This article is based on research for our recent eGuide, How to hire amazing managers.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Manager, a manager is defined as: “Someone who is responsible for leading a team toward common objectives. This individual takes the direction set forth by the organization’s leadership and makes it actionable at the local level.”
In other words, a manager is the person who takes your mandate and mission, and implements it with your team.
And yes, when you’re only five-people strong, you can do the managing yourself. But when you’re growing rapidly, your manager hat can start to take over your whole day. In short, you need a manager to lead your team, or teams, when you’re not able to do it yourself any more.
But how can you know when that’s starting to happen? Every business is different, but there are a number of signs that can tell you it’s time to add a manager to your workforce. Here are the three signs you need to hire a manager:
Sign #1: Your team is growing
This is one of the more obvious signs you need to hire a manager, but it’s worth mentioning. When you’re growing a business, you’ll reach a point where you need to hire help. And when you bring those people on board, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Can I manage these people on my own?”
Because if you’re not on top of your team’s projects and tasks, if you’re not keeping them engaged, productive, and motivated, mistakes are going to start seeping into your process. It’s a matter of span of control – one person can only manage so many employees effectively.
As to what that ideal span of control is, it differs wildly from leader to leader. “The average number of direct reports for Fortune 500 CEOs is 7.44, but some CEOs have more than 20, while others have less than 5,” explains Mike Myatt in Forbes. “It’s not the number that’s important, but whether you’re getting what you need out of whatever number you have.”
Sign #2: Your days are getting longer and longer
You might be in firefighting mode all day, or you might just be bogged down by all the little decisions that need your final approval. Either way, the tasks required of the business’s leadership are growing, and it’s time to bring in a manager (or managers) to alleviate some of the load.
Sign #3: Business development slows
If you’re looking to scale up to a medium-sized and then large-sized business, bringing in a manager, or even a management team, will eventually be a crucial part of the growth process.
But there’s another component to the business development side of things: as a company leader, part of your job is to come up with the big picture ideas. If you’re bogged down on a daily basis with people management, you’re not coming up with the big ideas that will move your company forward. You’re just treading water. So you need to pass those tasks off to a manager.
Knowing when it’s time to hire is just to start. To learn how to find the top candidates, and what to do to get them to accept your offer, download our free eGuide, How to hire amazing managers.