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A View From the Top: Value-Add Followership


To: Corporate Leader at AnyCompany

Subject: You Have Abandoned Most of Your Employees

What is your ratio of management to individual contributors? Just as a point of reference, let's use one out of ten. Whether you think of that as a good overall average, or a sure sign of having too much overhead for a modern business, at that rate, ninety percent of your workforce has little to no hope of career advancement to management. Odds are, you consider your management team as either full or perhaps over-full. Pick any other ratio; the point will remain. There is relatively little room for advancement in most companies until someone higher-up leaves the company, or growth calls for a new management position. Both of which are, for the average business, rare events.

How unfortunate if my quickest path to advancement is for my manager to fail.

Wait a minute! Who said that being a made a manager is the only way to advance one's career? Almost everyone. Managers have more status inside and outside the organization because they have more decision-making responsibility, more formal and informal influence, a larger cross-organizational role, more impact on the working conditions — and pay — of others, and are themselves paid at a higher rate.


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