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TV Expert Interviews / Leadership / Sep 20, 2023 / Posted by Summer Davies / 33

The Greatest Challenge for Businesses: Lack of Skilled Managers (video)


The Challenges and Solutions for First

Time and Front-Line Managers in Small to Medium Businesses

As a podcast host, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Summer Davies, an award-winning leadership development expert with over 15 years of experience. We had an insightful discussion about the challenges faced by small and medium businesses in finding skilled first-time and front-line managers.

The Transition from Technical Contributor to Manager

One of the main topics we discussed was the difficulty of transitioning from a technical contributor to a manager. Many organizations promote their best technical contributors to managerial positions without adequately preparing them for the different skill set required. This lack of preparation often leads to unintended consequences and creates a significant problem for these businesses. This issue is prevalent across organizations, and many struggle to find a solution.

The Misconception of Career Progression

We also delved into the misconception that career progression is solely measured by moving into a managerial role. We highlighted the need for organizations to recognize and support individuals who excel in technical leadership without the desire or aptitude for people leadership. We stressed the importance of creating a talent pipeline that allows individuals to explore and try out people leadership roles without fear of failure or losing face.

The Importance of Coaching and Developing People

Another key point we discussed was the importance of coaching as a skill and the need for leaders to flex their leadership style based on individual and situational needs. We talked about the common trap of focusing too much on problem areas and not enough on helping top performers. We emphasized the need for managers to be developers of people rather than just firefighters.

We shared a story about a company addicted to crisis management and how it hindered their ability to address underlying issues. We also discussed the importance of recognizing and acknowledging when people are doing things right, and not just focusing on what needs to be fixed. We highlighted the need for specific feedback and connecting individual behaviors to the outcomes of the organization.

Connecting Employees’ Work to the Organization’s Goals

Summer Davies discussed the disconnect between employees’ work and the organization’s mission and goals. She emphasized the need for managers to understand and communicate the overall objectives to their teams. Summer suggested using simple reminders, such as laminated cards, to reinforce the organization’s goals. She also mentioned the importance of repetition in today’s social media-driven world, suggesting that managers may need to reiterate the message at least once a month.

I agreed with Summer’s points and believe that understanding the organization’s goals is essential for managers to ensure their departments contribute optimally. I suggested that managers should have conversations with the head of the organization to gain clarity on the objectives. Both of us stressed the importance of keeping things simple and focused, as most employees don’t need fancy presentations or technology, but rather a clear connection to the organization’s mission.

In conclusion, our discussion highlighted the challenges faced by first-time and front-line managers in small to medium businesses and offered practical solutions to overcome them. The key takeaways were the importance of preparing technical contributors for managerial roles, recognizing different paths of career progression, developing coaching skills, and connecting employees’ work to the organization’s goals.

Our Host

John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist, he has conducted over 1500 video interviews of thought leaders for Sales POP! online sales magazine & YouTube Channel and for audio podcast channels where Sales POP! is rated in the top 2% of most popular shows out of 3,320,580 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.

About Author

Meet Summer Davies, an award-winning leadership development expert with over 15 years of experience. She helps burgeoning leaders develop the mindset and tactical skills to lead with impact, confidence, empowerment, and a genuine love for what they do. As a lifelong equestrian, beekeeper, and sub-par snowboarder, Summer brings a unique perspective and sense of urgency to Leadership Development conversations. Based in Parker, Colorado, she lives with her husband and two beautiful daughters, and together they love to travel, explore local breweries, and indulge in their passion for food trucks. Tune in to hear her inspiring journey from unexpected leadership to a passion-driven career in coaching and empowering others to become the leaders they aspire to be.


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