The Management Skill Development Gap

By FredrickHobbs

My partner and I have discovered a far-reaching apathy towards managers and supervisors improving their skills. Evidence is born by the facts that many organizations are suffering from the following problems:

  • Declining customer service performance measures
  • Fewer employees exceeding expectations
  • Workplace disharmony
  • Unmet goals
  • Slipping performance measures
  • High turnover rates
  • Maintenance of the status quo

As you suspect, each of these symptoms is influenced by many factors, but let’s see how you, as manager, can impact each of these symptoms in a positive way. Each of these symptoms can be traced back to managers and supervisors falling short in their responsibilities.

Employees have poor role models. They are not being properly and sustainably motivated. They are not encouraged nor properly prepared to face the challenges of today, let alone the future challenges that are waiting just around the corner. Heightened tensions and stress in the workplace are breaking down team cooperation and support as employees are increasingly “looking out for number one.” Goals and objectives are not providing an atmosphere that promotes growth of skills and knowledge, but provide an undercurrent of apathy towards taking the extra step from meeting to exceeding expectations. Often, exemplary employees recognize their potential and marketability and leave to seek employment elsewhere, knowing they can find an environment better suited to their needs for growth, a friendlier and stimulating work environment, and leadership that supports their efforts and fosters security, safety, prosperity and success.

You are the one who is supposed to be providing the leadership that employees need and expect, but too many managers are blind to the fact that they supply a major contribution towards an unhealthy, stressful and unproductive workplace. No manager seeks poor performance, but too many lack the knowledge and experience to turn a bad situation around. No one enjoys criticism, but leaders today must step back and recognize how their actions contribute and support the problems facing the workforce.

We constantly hear managers and supervisors lament that they know they should be developing their skills and knowledge, but other priorities and the absence of time and resources prevents them from improving. Regardless of the priorities facing managers, their most important priority needs to be the success of their team. Once you recognize this priority, you will find the resources and time needed to remedy an ailing workplace, just as you find what you need when facing other priorities. The most disappointing discovery that we have made in our discussions with managers is their belief that they are doing well enough and have little need for improvement. Unfortunately, their employees are telling us otherwise. You may not be able recognize your own shortcomings without periodic assessment to discover areas of strength as well as, areas to improve. If you attack each shortcoming one at a time, you can often forego the need for protracted, complex and expensive training. By the way, just reading articles in magazines or on-line is not an effective means to improve your skills and knowledge unless:

  • You recognize the areas you need to improve
  • You recognize your current level of skill or knowledge
  • You Identify the level you need to be
  • You develop an action plan to close the gap
  • You track your progress to assure that you are improving.

Without each of these steps you are merely entertaining yourself and have little hope to internalize the information such that it actually causes you to alter your behavior and improve.

All that being said, what are you going to do? Anything? Or are you going to remain apathetic?

  • What will it take to convince you that YOU need further development?
  • How can you find out where your skills gaps are?
  • What skills do you need to improve?
  • How can you close those gaps?
  • What do you need to help you close those gaps?

So what are you waiting for?

Our web site provides positive support where assessments, tools and other resources are available, many free or low-cost to assist you. We have selected only those tools that are easy to learn and use, and we know, if applied appropriately, they work.

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We’re trying to enhance the workplace one leader at a time.