HR & Management

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Lack of support and training for managers has hampered ability to lead

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According to a new report by EEF, only 12 per cent of HR professionals say that there is strong leadership at every level of the organisation.

The report – which analysed the opinions of 200 HR and training professionals from various sectors – claimed that only 48 per cent saw managers as good role models, while 31 per cent were confident that managers were able to spot when a task or process needed to be changed.

However, it was suggested that much of this could be down to training and support. This was previously echoed in a report by the CIPD, which found that 36 per cent of line managers did not receive any training for their role, and that time for effective management is often squeezed or lost in favour of more immediate task oriented priorities.

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Ksenia Zheltoukhova, a research associate at CIPD, said: “We hear organisations lament the lack and quality of leaders, but we aren’t seeing evidence of commitment to drive good leadership and management practices. For 29 per cent of managers in the CIPD survey, ‘other priorities’ stand in the way of ensuring that the interests of the team members are supported, raising questions about the priorities that organisations attach to the wellbeing of staff. These findings are a wake-up call for businesses to re-align the systems and structures in place to support leadership development.

“Businesses address issues such as poor customer service or faulty machinery straight away, whereas bad management across organisations is tolerated to a shocking degree. Some 28 per cent of organisations failed to act upon poor feedback on line managers; and nearly half confessed that individuals were promoted into managerial roles based on their performance record rather than people management or leadership skills. It’s time for business to identify and address the roots of bad management, recognising that a more consistent approach to training and supporting leaders at all levels of an organisation is needed to drive sustainable performance.”

Similarly, EEF’s research unveiled that 29 per cent of HR professionals suggested most managers completed an annual appraisal, but didn’t follow up. Over a quarter said that managers provided some feedback.

Furthermore, only 18 per cent of HR professionals thought new managers had received training on employment policies and procedures, while 19 per cent said managers had received leadership training.

Judith Hogg, director of training and head of learning and development at EEF, said: “Great management and leadership skills are key to unlocking greater productivity – something that the UK typically lags behind on. At the same time, many of the problems that companies have to contend with stem from poor leadership.

“Effective leaders provide clarity, direction and a sense of ownership. But this requires managers to take a step up from fulfilling a functional role – something that many aren’t being fully equipped to do. Training and coaching are key in providing them with the confidence, knowledge and tools to lead effectively. Developing managers’ competencies and behaviours can pay dividends in driving an organisation’s vision, mission and values.”

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