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Smart Thinking

Headcount Justifying the Manager

Anti Patterns of Management – when the headcount justifies the manager.

This Anti Pattern attracts controversy. It presents itself during analysis of business architecture, particularly organisational design and efficiency.

Anti Pattern Name: Headcount Justifying the Manager.

Type: Managerial, Organisational.

Problem: Organisational Structure may have changed and departmental headcount reduced, yet managerial roles have not been re-factored or re-assigned. Another manifestation is the creation or parallel evolution of similar functions. The former is typically because of a Status Quo Bias ‘perpetuating’ management structures which are no longer required or efficient. The latter is commonly due to poor governance and mergers.

Context: Business Architecture, Operating Model Design

Forces: Status Quo Bias (a major culprit), ‘conflict’ avoidance, failure to recognise inefficiencies, unwillingness to merge teams and to slim down management structures, failure to recognise significant commonality in business functions.

Resulting Context: Overly complex management structures, inefficiency, under-utilised managers, risking additional Managerial Anti Patterns such as micromanagement.

Solution(s): Merging functions and redeployment, reducing organisational complexity, particularly where there are duplicate or near-duplicate functions. Setting performance based management targets to arrest any ‘pastoral care only’ management behaviours.

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.