Why It’s Easier to Manage 4 People Than It Is to Manage 1 Person




  • It’s easier to manage 4 people than it is to manage one person. The primary reason for this is the inherent over-reliance in the relationship between a manager and a single report (View Highlight)
  • The new manager is over-reliant on making sure their single report likes them and is doing well. If (View Highlight)
  • The manager’s over-reliance on the direct report’s success and happiness leads to risk-averse behavior, like not giving critical feedback or overcompensating. (View Highlight)
  • The single report is isolated. (View Highlight)
  • No one in this relationship has the ability to get context. With more reports, a manager gets clearer signals when they’re wrong. (View Highlight)
  • To further the problematic conditions, the single report will often be a very junior hire. (View Highlight)
  • It’s not uncommon for these relationships to turn sour. The manager makes mistakes as they always do. The report makes mistakes as they always do. Fingers are pointed. Times are dire. If you ever hear someone call their manager a “first-time manager”, you know the relationship has reached a special level of hell. (View Highlight)
  • Avoid having first time managers have a team of 1 individual contributor for a prolonged amount of time. That team size is an anti-pattern for more reasons than just this one. (View Highlight)
  • Try and make sure the manager of a team with 1 individual contributor is also an expert in the domain area. (View Highlight)
  • Avoid at all costs the combination of: new manager, 1 report, report is new-to-industry, manager is not a subject-matter expert. (View Highlight)