Leadership skills gap damaging businesses

A shortage of appropriate and practical leadership skills among UK managers
is holding back economic performance despite widespread management education,
according to a new study.

The results of a two-year study by the Council for Excellence in Management
and Leadership (CEML) showed a major deficit in skills was damaging the
performance of public, private and voluntary organisations.

According to Managers and Leaders: raising the game only around 20 per cent
of managers have any leadership qualifications, while many lacked the
appropriate skills to do their job.

The research points to a marked shortage in strategic thinking,
communication, leading teams, motivating people and developing and promoting
ethical standards.

Business schools and training providers were also criticised for being too
inflexible and not tailoring courses for individual companies or managers.

The council’s chairman, Sir Anthony Cleaver, claimed the report identified a
link between management quality and economic performance and said the link
should be monitored.

"We set out to be a catalyst for change and we looked for practical
recommendations to overcome the many gaps and blockages that exist between
current management performance and where we need to be in the future," he

CEML set out 30 detailed recommendations for change and is calling on the
Government to introduce a new strategic body for the development of management
and leadership.

CIPD director general Geoff Armstrong said the report would bring
much-needed focus on management as a key driver for successful organisations
and he added that sustained investment in learning was an absolute priority.
"This is the only way the UK can make the transition into higher value
areas of employment. The starting point has to be leaders and managers with
both the strategic vision and the professional competence to give that
lead," he said.


By Ross Wigham

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