Three in four workers report managers’ lack of leadership and skills

Three-quarters of employees report a lack of leadership and management skills, and believe that too many managers have an inflated opinion of their management abilities, according to research released today.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) latest Employee Outlook survey suggested that there is a “reality gap” between how good managers think they are in their roles and how effective they actually are.

The research found that three-quarters (72%) of employees reported a lack of leadership and management skills in their organisations.

In addition, while eight managers in 10 said that they think their staff are satisfied or very satisfied with them as a manager, only 58% of employees agreed.

The CIPD said that this “reality gap” is important because of the link between employees’ satisfaction with their manager and their willingness to “go the extra mile” for their employer.

The research also highlighted contrasts between how managers said they manage their people and the views of their employees. Six managers in 10 said that they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload, meeting objectives and other work-related issues. However, just 24% of employees say they meet their managers with such frequency.

Meanwhile, more than 90% of managers said that they sometimes or always coach the people that they manage, but only 40% of employees agreed. And, while 75% of managers said they always or sometimes discuss employees’ development and career progression during one-to-one meetings, only 38% of employees said this was the case.

The CIPD has said that even a small increase in capability among UK managers could make a significant contribution to productivity and growth.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “Leadership and management capability continues to be an Achilles heel for UK plc, despite mounting evidence that these are ‘skills for growth’ essentials. Our research shows almost three people in 10 (28%) – equating to about eight million people across the UK workforce – have direct management responsibility for one or more people in the workplace, and yet only just over half of employees are satisfied with their manager.

“Too many employees are promoted into people management roles because they have good technical skills, then receive inadequate training and have little idea of how their behaviour impacts on others.

“Too many managers fall into a vicious circle of poor management; they don’t spend enough time providing high-quality feedback to the people they manage, or coaching and developing them or tapping into their ideas and creativity, which means they then have to spend more time dealing with stressed staff, absence or conflict and the associated disciplinary and grievance issues.

“Employers need to get better at identifying and addressing management skills deficits through low-cost and no-cost interventions such as coaching by other managers, mentoring, online learning, the use of management champions, peer-to-peer networks, toolkits, and self-assessment questionnaires.

“Government also needs to play a bigger role in building demand among employers for investment in the leadership and management skills that are central to its efforts to support economic growth and transform public services.”

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