Poor management 'undermining' economic growth, says advisory group

Poor management skills and lack of leadership by managers in the UK is hindering attempts to boost economic growth, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has claimed.

The quarterly Employee Outlook survey from the CIPD, which questioned 2,000 employers and employees, found that three quarters (72 per cent) of employers reported a lack of leadership and management skills amongst their own managers.

The research also highlighted what it called a 'reality gap' between how managers viewed their work practices, and the views of their employees. Out of those surveyed, eight out of ten managers felt that staff were satisfied with their work, while just 58 per cent of employees agreed with this statement.

At present, three in ten people in the UK have direct responsibility for one or more people in the workplace - equating to 8 million public limited company (plc) managers in the UK. However, fewer than half of employees felt satisfied with their management.

According to the CIPD, this gap is significant as it found those employees who were satisfied with their manager felt more engaged with their work and were willing to go the extra mile for their employer.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: "Leadership and management capability continues to be an Achilles heel for UK plc, despite mounting evidence that these are 'skills for growth' essentials."

"A small increase in capability across this huge population of people managers would have a significant impact on people's engagement, wellbeing and productivity. However, too many employees are promoted into people management roles because they have good technical skills, then receive inadequate training and have little idea of how their behaviour impacts on others."

There were similar discrepancies between managers and the views of their employees regarding how frequently communication, feedback, coaching and development took place, with six out of 10 managers claiming they meet with staff at least twice a month, compared to just 24 per cent of employees.

The CIPD is now urging the Government and employers to recognise that increased capability amongst managers could make a significant contribution to productivity and growth.

"Employers need to get better at identifying and addressing management skills deficits through low cost and no cost interventions such as coaching by other managers, mentoring, on-line learning, the use of management champions, peer to peer networks, toolkits, and self assessment questionnaires," Ben Willmot added.