IT departments are often trying to do a lot with just a little. A recent survey from Deloitte found business leaders are generally “overtaxed,” and this fatigue can flow down to their employees, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
In the report, contributed by Deloitte, Michael Puleo, director of Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice, said many managers’ have too many direct reports, which are out of proportion with what their role requires. This means, they spend extra time and energy managing those direct reports and drift further away from the actual work being done. Conversely, sometimes managers have too few direct reports, and they end up micromanaging or engaging in the same work their employees are doing. Both scenarios fall outside the optimal span of control, which can result in managers feeling overwhelmed, Mr. Puleo said.
When managers are overwhelmed, their job performance can falter, and employees who report to those managers also suffer from lack of daily leadership, planning and feedback, Mr. Puleo said.
In IT, often managers have too few people directly reporting to them, but at the same time, leadership traits are not widespread among technologists, according to Judith Pennington, a director with Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice. “Leadership is not as kill that’s inherently common among or enjoyed by many technology professionals. Often, CIOs will move good technologists into leadership roles, causing the organization to lose a skilled technologist and gain a mediocre manager,” she said.
Deloitte offers a handful of tips to operate within the optimal span of control.
First, Deloitte suggests setting a more nuanced benchmark to determine this ideal span of control. Four key factors determine the right number of direct reports for a manager: the nature of the work, the degree of standardization, the complexity of the work and the interdependency of the work.
To read more about optimizing the span of control, click here.