How many direct reports should a new manager have?

We have a lot of new managers with only 1-2 direct reports. We’re finding that’s not enough for the manager to really pick up the skills they need. They tend to act more as a senior team member rather than a manager.

Alternatively, we’ve got some managers with a lot more, but they get overloaded quickly. Is there an ideal number? Or an approach to stage managers into having more direct reports?

Sport is a good indicator. Basketball teams are 5, cricket or soccer is 11. So we can aim for from 5 to 11 (inclusive). Also we should have an odd number and a captain. Good luck!

As with many things…I think it depends :slight_smile: In org design, this is also known as spans of control and relates to the structure of your org (wider spans generally means flatter org, narrow spans means more hierarchical). Both have inherent pros and cons, I don’t think there is a hard-fast rule. You’ll want to choose a number that makes sense for the type of work being done, org size, competencies of the manager/employees and culture.

You could choose a baseline based on your org factors (let’s say 6 direct reports) and then scale up or back depending on the capabilities or experience of the manager.

I quite agree with Chelsea - it will depend on structure that already exists as well as the work being done in the team. In hospitality the idea of a management team certainly works in that even a Manager with a large number of direct reports will still have Assistant Managers and Team Leads to help guide the team. I think this can easily be replicated in other industries if it’s necessary for the size of team you are creating.