CIPD: “Owner-Managers have limited experience in managing people”

I’m here to champion the Manager and let me explain why.

According to BEIS, SMEs account for more than half of the UK’s turnover and employment. Yet, many Owner Managers of SMEs have limited experience managing people.

I view Management and Leadership roles as quite different, sometimes both roles are carried out by the same person in an SME, but in all honestly, it’s rare to see both carried out superbly. They require different skills and therefore behaviours to be successful.  Whilst the leader will have the ideas, be the inspiration and the visionary, and in doing so will set the scene for the culture, someone else is usually needed to be the practical one: to translate this information into an effective management process, to provide the consistency and to prevent the ideas factory going into overdrive which leads to an ever-changing landscape where the endpoint is hard to reach. Let’s celebrate the Manager and their strengths!  Good ones are vital for success and it’s their actions that will influence your staff retention levels and provide the backbone for your companies reputation with customers and competitors, thus positioning you as an employee of choice.  Sounds like a pretty important function, doesn’t it?

So, which one are you?

Start with your natural strengths, generally we like doing what we are good at! If you can’t identify your natural strengths, behavioural profiling can be a useful instrument  to examine this from a scientific stance.  A Manager and Leader may well have similar profiles or crossovers, but the detail will be undoubtedly different, especially if the leader is an entrepreneur.  Within the management masterclasses that I run, the “What Sort Of Manager Are You?” day frequently produces those light bulb moments. People realise that they aren’t always operating in the style inferred and required by the job role. Is this fixable?  Yes, usually. If they have a toe in a different operating style.  This is observed more frequently when people have been promoted through the ranks without clear role definition, separation or expectations.  Training is undoubtedly useful, new managers cannot simply acquire the management skill set by osmosis! Once the skill set is gained, coaching to assist the transition between job roles and corresponding operating styles will serve to make the path easier. Thus ensuring that productivity within the new role is reached far sooner than simply being “left to it.”

So what’s the moral of the story?

As leaders, invest the time and resources to make your managers great!  Provide the training and in doing so shorten the learning period and increase the person’s confidence.  Both Managers and Leaders will reap the reward.  Think of it this way, with the Bank of England Chief Economist saying that Britain needs to improve the quality of its Managers to be competitive on the global stage… and 4/5 Managers were termed “untrained, accidental Managers” in 2017 by the CIM….a true Leader would know what to do.

Our next  Management Masterclass “Defining The Role and Skills of an Effective Manager” is on the 21st May 2019. For those of you who want more, our Clarity7 programme provides Learning and Development around the 7 key areas which create an elite Manager.


5th – 6th June 2019 – Become a Recruitment Ninja – our NEW 2-day Recruitment skills course that will equip you with all the skills you’ll need to recruit high-quality talent in the current competitive market.

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