A cull of middle management is looming in the UK, because too many managers have failed to adapt to the changing nature of the workplace, academics have predicted.
A report by Henley Management College warns that UK managers face exposure unless they change their management techniques and improve their skills.
The report Managing Tomorrow’s Worker suggests that the growing number of flexible workers in the UK has exposed the lack of management capability among many of the UK’s middle management.
The fear is that the booming economy, and the consequent shortage of talented replacements, has so far enabled these managers to hide but any downturn will result in their lack of skills being uncovered.
The challenge for HR is to help managers develop new skills to meet the growing demand for better work-life balance and reward output rather than “presenteeism”, the report says
It advises HR to educate team leaders and line managers into how they can maintain good relationships, motivation and morale, when team members are spread across disparate geographical locations.
Peter Thomson, director of the Future Work Forum at Henley Management College and author of the report, said: “British management is at a significant crossroads. For years, managers have been used to managing people by simply watching over them.
“With the rise in flexible working, that style will have to completely change or else we face the prospect of managers holding back the tide of flexible working, like a modern-day King Canute.”
The research was conducted between February 2004 and March 2005 on behalf of software giant Microsoft.