As a company grows the need for strong, experienced department heads grows. Once a company passes the 20 employee mark it starts to get harder and harder for the CEO to check in on every department. By the time a company hits 40 employees it’s impossible. At this stage, it is vitally important that the CEO be willing to pass authority and responsibility on to capable department heads who can lead and grow the department.
Giving up that level of control can be hard for some CEOs. They’ve been an intricate part of the entire business up until this point, so it can be difficult for them to take a step back and not be involved in the day to day. But with this many employees, it’s time to turn that authority over to people who have the time and ability to manage them.
These managers may be home grown or hired from outside the company. If they are home grown, significant time needs to be spent making sure that they are ready to manage people. They need to be given the tools and training necessary to be a good manager, not just handed the role and told to figure it out. If you hire from outside the company, the single most important credential to look for is past successful experience in managing others.
The department head role may initially still retain some of the day to day tasks of the department, but eventually they will become a professional manager. Make sure that you are putting people in these roles that are ready, willing and able to focus their efforts on managing people all day, every day.