Damaging shortage of people skills

Only a third of UK firms are committed to developing people management
skills despite almost all managers believing they are crucial to business
success, new research has found.

The Ashridge People Skills Report, which looked at 283 managers, found that
while 91 per cent cited people skills as increasingly important, two-thirds
claimed their business wasn’t committed to developing them.

Respondents were also asked to rank the most important traits in a people
manager. This year communication skills topped the bill, as in the previous
survey three years ago.

The ability to influence staff leapt from fifth to second place, followed by
the ability to champion change, motivational skills, integrity and trust.

Pam Jones, co-author of the report, said managers are increasingly working
with more teams across several disciplines but only 11 per cent believe their
firm measures team performance effectively: "Organisations need to develop
an environment where people skills are recognised as critical to business
success and provide the support for managers to achieve this," she said.

Ninety-nine per cent of managers thought people management skills were vital
qualities in a successful leader, but some fail to see these skills in their

The report suggested people skills were being overlooked because of
operational priorities, cost cutting and time constraints.

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