Line managers torn in two directions

Evidence is mounting that there are groups of managers out there virtually
at breaking point. The latest research from consultancy DDI shows many first
line and middle managers are living on an organisational ‘fault line’, torn
between the conflicting demands of their bosses and their teams, and unprepared
for the leadership roles expected of them.

This concurs with our own survey’s findings, conducted in May with Computers
In Personnel, UK Line Managers – Are They Good Enough? We discovered that HR is
concerned about the capabilities of its line managers, with people management
skills being their biggest weakness.

Years of cost-cutting have exacerbated the problem by stripping away tiers
of management and putting leadership development on the back burner.

HR has a duty to convince business that this issue needs urgent attention.
Helping your managers to lead under pressure has to become a top priority if
your organisation is to thrive.

This means going back to basics and reviewing recruitment to these
positions, training and development and promotion processes. Checking that
aspiring managers have the right motivation and personal attributes to excel
sounds obvious, but it doesn’t always happen.

If nothing else, put a coaching programme in place. It will encourage trust
and help new managers understand that the value they bring is not about having
all the right answers, but developing the self-belief and strengths of others.

Clash of the titans

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) should be
commended for agreeing to an open debate with one of its fiercest critics,
consultant Paul Kearns.

Personnel Today prompted the head-to-head between Kearns and the institute’s
assistant director-general Duncan Brown at the beginning of the year. The
debate was held in front of 60 people in the less than palatial surroundings of
the Ramada Jarvis hotel in Ealing last week.

This was an important debate about whether HR and the CIPD are strategic
enough. Views were expressed in a good-natured manner, and although there were
distinct differences between them, this was not the hostile confrontation
predicted.

It is right that arguments about the CIPD’s role and the impact HR is having
on business should go on and on. The mark of a confident, healthy profession is
one that is able to question, criticise and analyse itself without animosity.

By Jane King, editor

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