Managers say it’s good to talk, but don’t know how

HR departments are being urged to demand extra training resources after a
report found that line managers’ communication skills need improving.

The survey, called Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk, concludes that managers do
not need convincing about the importance of managing communications
effectively, but many feel untrained and ill-equipped to do so.

Eight out of 10 managers admit that they do not communicate tasks well to
their teams, according to the report by recruitment consultancy Office Angels.

Over half of the 500 senior managers polled believe that their listening
skills let them down, although 93 per cent think that the ability to talk and
listen effectively to staff is a vital skill.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents say listening is the most important
communication skill associated with being a manager.

Only four out of 10 receive training in listening, presenting, or written
and verbal communication, but 57 per cent are trained in business management
and 51 per cent receive coaching in technical skills.

Paul Jacobs, director of corporate communications at Office Angles, said,
"HR needs to lobby senior managers and directors to obtain the resources
to train managers in soft skills. HR is giving managers training in traditional
management areas, but vital soft skills, such as communication and listening to
employees, are being ignored by organisations.

"If companies do not improve soft skills training, then they will find
staff leaving, costing them a lot of time and money and a loss in morale."

One-fifth of respondents only meet with their manager once a month and a
further 15 per cent rarely or never have a meeting with their manager.

Jane Drunker, professor of HR management at the University of Greenwich
Business School, said, "Businesses need to focus more on support for

"Training and development opportunities are essential if the
communication process is to be effective.

"The responsibility for good communication begins at the top of the
organisation and senior managers need to give more time and attention to the
soft skills associated with inter-personal relations."

By Paul Nelson

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