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What is my ideal team size?

October 29, 2018


I recently learned a hard lesson in teamwork. I was asked to lead a team of 13 which is about 3 people more than this team needed. I figured, too many is better than not enough right? Boy was I wrong. Having more people than necessary led to poor performance, a lack of motivation, and lack of  commitment to the team.


As I watched this team perform, I kept asking myself “The talent is here, why can they not pull it together?” It suddenly dawned on me it was because we had too many people. Attempting to allow everyone to participate, kept me from allowing my key team members to perform at their best. It also forced me to break the team in two with half of my top performers working together during one shift and the other half during the second shift. In an attempt to balance the shifts, my top performers were no longer working together and as a result both shifts were struggling and continually failing.


During my journaling and self reflection time, I kept thinking about this anomaly. Is there such a thing as having too many people? How does this impact performance? I came to the realization that you can definitely have too many people and it does impact team performance. Once I realized what had happened, two “ok” teams, rather than one great team, I needed to restructure my team. To do this, I needed to be intentional about who I was keeping and who I was letting go. Though it is never fun to let people go, sometimes it is best for the team, the performance, and those that are being let go in the long run.


My challenge for you this week is to look at your team and ask yourself, are there opportunities to do better? Do we have enough people? Do we have enough of the right people? If you need help diagnosing the health of your team I want to chat with you. Together we can find opportunities to bring back your team into performance mode.


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