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Central Scotland | amackie@sandler.com

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I recently came across a report by the Department for Business Invitation & Skills. This research stated that only 44% of SMEs plan to focus on increasing the leadership capability of their managers. 

The majority of UK's SMEs forecast a growth of their business in the next three years. Yet staff skills and recruitment process remain as the main obstacles to SME success. With employee engagement and development being another significant concern to SME business owners.

Are you among the 56% of SME business leaders who plan to grow your business without growing your manager’s skills base? Years of industry experience have taught me that not having a management and leadership training programme can be costly. 

In our management and leadership training courses, I often meet managers who are not trained to lead their teams. In most cases, these managers were the top performers and received a promotion for delivering excellent results. Rarely, their employer has put any training and development programme in place. They are left to make it up as they go along.

While I am not saying that you should not promote your top performers, not training them to lead their team can damage your business. Here are a few reasons why:

Your managers will micro-manage

They spend most of their time micro-managing their team members. These managers focus on making sure that the team members complete their daily tasks and deliver targets. When someone fails to do so, they tend to take over the workload and deliver for them. These activities take up most of their day, squeezing personal development of their team members in the background. Not having the opportunity to grow will quickly start to affect the performance of their teams. 

They create a culture of helplessness

You might be thinking, 'At the end of the day the department delivered the expected targets. That is what really matters, isn’t it? So what, if the line manager had to step in and help out?’ When managers complete work instead of their team, they create a culture of helplessness. By doing so they are not allowing the team members to take ownership of their work. Unintentionally, they train them to go to their boss for answers and stop using their own initiative. This leaves the manager with a disengaged workforce and little time for completing management tasks. 

They lose other top performers in the team

By this point, you have promoted your best employee to your worst manager. Usually, this leaves a negative effect on other top performers. There is a good chance that they will move onto other positions outside your organisation. Having the opportunity to grow, develop and climb the career ladder is important to the top performers. If it is not there, only the average or non-performers will remain in this team. Would you want that to happen? 

Recognise this scenario?


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