Closing the Manager Gap: Why we need to support our managers better

Closing the manager gap - giving managers access to more training

Sink or Swim: Why aren’t we giving our managers more?

Selecting managerial talent is only half the battle. What earns a frontline employee a promotion won’t necessarily carry them as a manager. It’s a different skill set; even top talent will struggle to perform without adequate training and resources. 

So why aren’t we giving our managers more? This question becomes even more critical when time, resources, and budgets are limited. Leaders must find ways to integrate relevant learning without compromising professional or personal commitments.

Consider Marjorie, who, after 27 years at a U.S. telecommunications company, found herself managing a team of eight. The role required meticulous project management and a deep understanding of the company’s billing database. Thanks to her employer’s commitment to growth, she pursued a self-led learning program outside of working hours. This program helped her guide her team more effectively, resulting in a 20% increase in productivity and performance. 

Unfortunately, many managers, especially those leading remote teams, do not have access to such resources. During the rise of remote work in 2020, 40% of supervisors and managers lacked confidence in managing remote teams. A Pathstream Survey found that one in four supervisors still cite managing teams in remote/hybrid environments as a common challenge, and over 22.5% cite insufficient managerial training. This blog post will explore the critical issues of insufficient support for managers, its impact, and actionable strategies to close the manager gap.


The Manager Gap: A Critical Issue

The manager gap refers to the shortfall in training, resources, and support that managers face, which hinders their ability to lead effectively. This issue has been exacerbated by the rise of remote work, with 40% of supervisors and managers lacking confidence in managing remote teams during the peak of this transition in 2020. 

Even now, 22.5% of supervisors cite insufficient managerial training as a common challenge. This lack of support has significant repercussions on the workforce. A staggering 75% of U.S. workers report that poorly trained managers create unnecessary work and stress, while only 30% of managers have received training on how to lead hybrid teams.


The Impact of insufficient support for managers

When we don’t adequately support our managers, the consequences ripple throughout the organization. Managers are often stretched too thin, juggling 51% more responsibilities than they can handle. This overwhelming burden inevitably leads to burnout, dragging down team performance and productivity.

Moreover, a staggering 87% of executives and managers anticipate a looming skills gap in their organizations. This gap underscores the pressing need to address the support managers receive.

The Impact of insufficient support for managers

Managers also play a crucial role in shaping employee engagement. In fact, 70% of the variance in employee engagement hinges on the manager’s abilities. When managers are left to fend for themselves without proper training and resources, it leads to disengaged employees, higher turnover rates, and diminished productivity. It’s clear that providing robust support for our managers isn’t just nice to have; it’s essential for any organization’s overall health and success.


Three actionable strategies to support managers

To build a foundation for high-performing managers, three critical pillars must be in place:

Actionable strategies to support managers

(1) Provide clarity

Empowering managers starts with clear communication about job responsibilities, performance metrics, and career paths. Managers can confidently navigate their roles When they understand what’s expected of them and see how their work aligns with the organization’s goals. This clarity should encompass their daily tasks and future growth opportunities, helping them align personal aspirations with the company’s objectives.

To improve role clarity, it’s essential to define mission-critical tasks, set clear expectations, and illustrate potential career trajectories within the organization. Offering visibility into team and organizational KPIs, and showing how these tie into individual growth can significantly enhance a manager’s ability to prioritize and execute their responsibilities effectively.

(2) Cultivate intentional motivation

Motivation goes beyond monetary rewards. It’s about creating a supportive environment where managers feel recognized and valued for their individual contributions. Personalized recognition and involving managers in decision-making processes can significantly boost their engagement and morale. When managers feel appreciated, they’re more likely to be motivated and committed to their roles.

Intentional motivation also involves providing clear paths for career progression. Managers need to see specific milestones and goals that align with their professional development. This motivates them and helps them inspire their teams by setting an example of continuous growth and achievement.

(3) Support career ownership

Supporting career ownership means offering managers ongoing leadership training, access to confidential coaching, and robust support from senior leadership. Managers should have opportunities to develop technical and soft skills, helping them become more effective leaders. Confidential professional coaching provides valuable outside perspectives, allowing managers to navigate challenges confidently and without fear of judgment.

Senior leadership plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of development. When executives actively support and participate in manager development programs, it signals to the entire organization that growth and learning are priorities. This top-down support encourages managers to utilize available resources and fosters a culture of proactive conversation and mutual support.


Closing the manager gap is essential for creating high-performance teams and achieving organizational success. Organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement and engagement by providing managers with the clarity, motivation, and career ownership support they need. The benefits are clear: better-supported managers lead to more engaged employees, higher productivity, and a stronger organizational culture.

Download our full white paper to learn more about supporting your managers and closing the manager gap. It’s time to invest in our managers and unlock the full potential of our teams.




Pathstream is a mission-driven organization founded on the premise that tremendous, unrealized economic and human potential exists within an organization’s frontline workforce.

We are dedicated to empowering employees and supervisors to thrive in their careers by providing motivation, support, and the necessary skills to achieve their goals. Our innovative platform integrates personalized professional coaching, practical skill-building programs, and comprehensive career pathing – enabling organizations to provide effective, end-to-end support for their frontline workforce while benefiting from improved retention and in-role performance. Learn more by contacting us. 

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