What is the Optimal Span of Control?



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Leadership > Best Practices > What is the Optimal Span of Control?

What is the Optimal Span of Control?
panadol, Student (University), Kenya, Member
Many management writers seem to agree that the optimum span of management is 4 to 8 surbordinates. Can we agree on this?

Optimal Span of Control
Gopalakrishna Bhat, Project Manager, India, Member
I tend to agree with this. Remember if you spend 10% of work time per subordinate, then you are left with just 20% time to do other things that have to be handled by yourself.

Optimal Span of Control
Marissa Crean
I believe your potential span of control increases as you move up the organization. There are fewer things that you must do yourself and much more that are tasks to be completed by your teams.
- Consider the CEO of a publicly-held company. Some things that only the CEO can do is meet in person with the stakeholders - board members, investors, direct reports and their teams, employee meetings, etc. In other words, you are leading a meeting to come to a conclusion or you are making a presentation.
- I know of a CFO that has had more than 10 people reporting to him, and he could manage that because, as he said himself "I don't do anything except make sure I have a team that is capable and empowered to do the right thing." With that approach, you can handle many subordinates.

No Universal Optimal Span of Control
Casimir Vital, Manager, United States, Member

Optimal Span of Control Depends on Many Factors
Earle Taylor, Turnaround Manager, United States, Member

Factors in Optimizing the Span of Control
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member

Span of Control versus Span of Support
Wiegmans, Business Consultant, Netherlands, Member

8 People is the Optimal Span of Control
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member


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