Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 15 – Fewer Managers, More Coaches & Mentors

Fewer Managers, More Coaches & Mentors


Dear Leaders,

This weeks letter is a challenge to set yourself and your leadership team. With all the businesses I have worked in and on, and with the businesses I have spoken to recently, the more I question the way we have set up work to succeed.

The most common question I ask:
“Why do you think you need more managers?”.

Very rarely do I receive an answer that backs up hiring more managers or another manager.

Hierarchy can be good for company progress and taking active steps to mature your startup or middle management team, however, what you likely need in this period is more coaches and more mentors.

These, of course, could be internal (and should be happening organically) and could be external, you will likely benefit more by leading through coaching the team and guiding them long term with specific mentors. Keep this in mind: Both are specific skills and different disciplines.

Coaching can take many forms, the best form of corporate coaching is based on skills gaps, coaching on identified tactical areas of improvements and developing better muscle memory will more likely help teams and departments to perform better together or more resiliently than adding another manager into the chain of command.

A question to ask yourself: 

Do we have the right coaches internally to help the skills gap or should we look to hire a few specific coaches?

Mentoring is essential for those who need longer-term development, a lighter touch with more time to discuss, guide and mould your staff. Pairing mentors and mentees are essential, if you feel like you have someone to take ownership of internal mentorship, great, if not I would recommend looking to bring in external mentors for specific individuals or pairs that would benefit most from it.

Headcount will likely be tight for the foreseeable future, so consider how you can develop hard and softer skills including; confidence, professional development, reactions and your people over another layer of hierarchy.

As always, promote the right candidate and replace exiting managers if these are essential, however, really question and consider: What does our company require?
How is our business is going to improve performance? Not just manage people.  

A challenge for you:
Can you breed a team that proactively coaches and encourages your team to seek mentors and seek mentees?

This week focus on reviewing your hierarchy, department structures and how you can introduce a coach or coaching into the weekly flow and where and who could benefit from mentoring.

Especially those senior members who would greatly benefit from reserve mentoring. So many senior leaders are so disconnected from the floor and the teams they instantly benefit!

Have a good week and let me know by reply how you reconsider management and development.