Equipping Your Team Adequately for Management

One of the biggest traps SME owners fall into is in making themselves irreplaceable. This manifests itself most often when the owner/ owners decide to sell up and find that, if an external buyer is looking at the business, questions are asked about the remaining team’s ability to run the business once the owner/ owner’s have gone. If a MBO is the chosen route it shows in either a lack of confidence amongst the team or from the potential financial backers of the team in the new Management’s skills. This leads to lower valuations of the business and other actions, e.g. lock in clauses, that the sellers may not find attractive.

Frankly too little time is spent by many SME’s on training good people to assume management roles. We understand why of course. Business has to go on, every day is busy etc. and there simply isn’t time to undertake training. This is typical ‘box of incrementalism’ thinking.

It is a mistake on a number of counts:

  • For the financial reasons outlined above (i.e. lower valuation)
  • For the effect on the seller when selling becomes a priority

and (let’s not forget)

  • The effect on quality and ambitious people who want to be managers (and could be) but find that their chosen career path is stalled as a result of no help from the ‘boss’ in moving them forward

The last element leads, of course, to the best people leaving to join companies that do care and who will train them and assist them in getting the most out of their career and all that their ability warrants.

Helping people become managers requires focus and effort and excellent motivational skills. As good as these people are in their current roles, making the transition into management needs them to be able to:

  • Understand their new role, its purpose and definition
  • Build relationships (not friendships necessarily!) with their team
  • Identify and then communicate key goals clearly to the team – not just the what but why!
  • Act in a professional manner at all times
  • Be prepared to give regular feedback on team members’ performance – the good AND the not so good
  • Delegate work appropriately
  • Wear a number of ‘hats’ that are appropriate to the things that motivate individuals

If help and training isn’t given on the above the transition into being a quality manager is almost impossible and the individual and the business will suffer as a result.

On the ‘motivational’ point - I like sporting examples of where great people management has proved itself.  One of the best is Brian Clough, once manager (for those non-football fans) of Derby County and Nottingham Forest and hugely successful. I guess that a measure of Clough’s management ability was his skill in getting the very best from all his team during the time he managed them. He focused on both motivating the team of course but also the things that motivated the individual. In addition to the Trophy Cabinet a measure of his success is that, almost without exception, the players who played for Clough peaked at that club and never performed to the same level again even though some went to ‘bigger’ clubs afterwards.

Time spent in training good people to become good managers will pay the business owner back handsomely whether they want to continue running the business or want to exit it. Our Management Skills Development programme covers all of the key managerial aspects and is hugely successful in developing people.

If this article has ‘rung a few bells’ for you and you would like a free, no obligation meeting with a member of the Tinderbox team get in touch at:
or call us on 0116 232 5231.

Alternatively contact me directly using the details below.

David Turner

Managing Director

07747 023610

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