The biggest problem with managers is their inability to coach staff, according to the most comprehensive analysis of 360-degree feedback ever conducted in the UK.
The year-long study included feedback on 1,500 managers from more than 5,000 employees in 25 companies across a range of industry sectors.
An overwhelming 83% of respondents complained that their managers were not coaching them to help improve their performance.
This figure easily outstripped the second biggest problem voiced by employees: failure to set clear goals, which came up in 19% of survey responses.
Employees praised managers for their technical excellence and their commitment to delivering business goals, but said this came at the expense of people management.
The study was conducted by staff survey specialist Shine, and executive coaching organisation Performance Coaching International.
Andy Clare, co-owner of Shine, said the issue that repeatedly arose was that the individuals with people management responsibility were spending less and less time doing it.
“This meant less time for one-to-one sessions, performance appraisals, discussing career goals or just shooting the breeze,” said Clare.
But Kevin McAlpin, managing director of Performance Coaching International, said the real cause of the problem was that managers were scared of having the tough performance conversations with their staff that coaching required.
“The other reason is they simply can’t be bothered,” he said. “Either they want to get on with the technical side of the job – the bit they enjoy – or they want to focus on being strategic thinkers and leaders, not managers.”
The 360-degree employee development tool uses opinions from subordinates, peers and managers in an organisation, as well as self-assessment.
Top five concerns about managers
1. Failure to coach
2. Clear goals not set for staff
3. Lack of delegation
4. Don’t celebrate success
5. Inability to show flexibility in leadership style