By Anna Cornwallis

How to get management right

As your business grows, so will your headcount. An effective management layer is essential, and it is your responsibility to ensure you select the right people, train them well, communicate and empower them.  Sounds easy enough, but our experience shows that many SMEs struggle with this. Too often people are promoted beyond their capabilities or left to ‘manage’ without any skills development or support. Understanding how to build a strong management team is critical for your business growth, so take the time to get it right.

Not just a title

Calling someone a manager doesn’t make them a manager. Management is an obligation, a responsibility and a discipline. It may sound obvious, but appoint managers who can manage. Your best sales man or woman, for example, rarely makes your best sales manager for what are, in fact, obvious reasons. In order to manage well, individuals need to know how to engage & motivate people as well as being able to have those important but difficult conversations with staff. Some people can do this naturally, many can’t or don’t know how. Fortunately, these skills are utterly trainable – it’s a toolkit and a worthwhile investment for any business because of the time and hassle it can save for all. Technical capabilities are important but in this age of cutbacks, people skills are equally if not more valuable.

Manage your managers

You can’t expect your managers to do a good job for you if they’re not managed well themselves. Set the standard by assessing skills, training and developing appropriately, and setting meaningful objectives with clear deliverables and regular reviews. If you’re confident in your managers (and if you’re not, why not?) then you should empower them to make decisions on the company’s behalf. Trusting and empowering your managers will make them feel valued and should positively impact productivity. This culture will then flow through the business improving engagement and delivering positive outcomes.

Building management skill

Your managers will be expected to be expert in a number of areas specific to your industry, as well as the general management skills their role demands. It is your responsibility to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and qualifications to deliver. Don’t forget that alongside building their knowledge and skills, you must train your managers to manage in a way that fits culturally with your business. Understand exactly what is required of each manager and put a programme in place to meet those requirements; don’t send them on a generic course and expect them to come back transformed. Make development relevant and situational so it has a lasting impact. Again, your managers will feel empowered and supported and the business will work better as a result.

So remember…

  • Choose the right people
  • Communicate and empower
  • Invest in their development
  • Build the skill
  • Lead by example


To download our free ‘Removing your challenges to growth’ white paper, please complete the details below.

Name *

Email *