It’s always been a sound management philosophy that the higher up you get, the more direct reports you can have. This is based on the thought that if you have people that are more independent, self-motivated, self-disciplined and knowledgeable, and see the big picture, then you don’t need to spend as much time with them.
Now, imagine a company where all your employees have these attributes with one more critical component…they all understand how their performance affects the person next to them, and every employee throughout the company. Wow, imagine how many less managers you would need!
When issues arise that usually require a manager, the employees will try to work it out (with everyone’s best interest in mind) before bringing it to management. When they do, it won’t be problems only, they will bring their potential solutions as well.
When business is down, all the employees will understand that this affects all of their incomes, and will begin to motivate themselves and their co-workers to find ways to generate more revenue. This will lead to an increase in sales activity, as well as creative new ways to bring in business.
When business is booming, they’ll understand how certain departments are overloaded, and make sure they are cross-trained so they can help support their co-workers. Others will look for more creative ways to produce what is needed, and sales will focus on bringing in more profitable (yet less draining on resources) business.
I’ve heard from some, that they feel that the additional layers of management allows employees to advance, and that helps with employee retention. While this appears to be a sound concept, the person that only sees opportunity for their own advancement, is the one that will not accept the concept of mutual benefit; they will manage with an eye towards their success, over the companies success.
With a mutual benefit leadership style, your employees will see advancement into other areas of your company that offer higher compensation, and will understand that the only way to get there is by understanding and helping the people in their department, zone, and company get better. A rising tide raises all ships, therefore, not only will you need less management, but you will retain more of your employees…not just the ones that want to run the company!