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Leadership in an SME - How to bridge the Knowledge and Skills Gap


Danielle Grant

Employee Management Articles
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There are a number of recurring issues that tend to be experienced within a small business:

  • Gaps in critical skills, experience and knowledge, especially in the area of marketing.
  • Limited resources – especially people, time and finance.
  • Focus – skewed by personal passions or backgrounds.
  • Dealing with larger businesses, creating pressure on price, payment and IP protection.
  • Red tape – the burden of excessive legislation on a small business.
  • These issues are then affected and influenced by the leadership within the business, which can often have its own problems, such as:
  • A lack of clear vision and direction for the business.
  • Leaders focus on short-term survival and not strategy.
  • No time for personal development for the leader.
  • No time/thought is given to development needs of the team.
  • Poor delegation.
  • No clear leader, causing a lack of cohesion and drift in decision.

There are many sources of support in the business environment, but they are disparate and often offer conflicting, contradictory or confusing advice. They also rarely take into consideration the practicalities of the specific business situation or environment. Advice from independent consultants might be useful, but probably expensive for a small business. Much of the support needed and wanted by these companies may consist of an independent objective sounding board where ideas or concerns may be articulated, clarified or tested.

So where next?

LeaderShape has been working in partnership with Finance South East on a programme that is designed to help leaders within SMEs. The ‘Merlin’ project provides professionally trained mentors that can give specialist intensive advice and assistance with specific issues or projects. They also offer brokerage, signposting and ongoing mentoring and support, and can even sit on the Board of Directors.

Leaders often experience barriers and difficulties in translating their ideas into action – developing new ideas into viable commercial enterprises. This programme aims to address these issues and provide individual support to SME leaders through sophisticated mentoring, helping them to capitalise on entrepreneurial flair and increasing the sustainability of small businesses.

About the Author

Danielle Grant is a Director of LeaderShape Ltd. She is a highly experienced and accredited Coach, Mentor and Facilitator of individuals (especially CEO’s and Senior Managers), teams and peer groups. Danielle is also an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Chester. Visit for more details.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-01-14 14:17:07 in Employee Articles

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