Investing time and budget in raising the standard of management and leadership within an organisation significantly improves its performance and productivity, according to recent Chartered Management Institute research.
It also found that good managers not only inspire and motivate their teams, but can also play a key role in driving corporate goals and objectives across all sectors.
In light of this, one would assume that management enjoys a relatively lofty professional status within organisations keen to use the competitive advantages that highly skilled managers offer. Sadly this is not the case, and there is still some way to go before UK plc recognises the importance of managers and management development within the workplace.
Vital facets of management
It is often presumed that the vital facets of management, such as knowing how to communicate effectively, developing and supporting team members and managing change, are skills that all managers have as a matter of course. While it is true that these individuals often possess a natural aptitude for skills such as inspirational speaking or creative thinking, it is rarely the case that managers are experts in all areas of management and leadership.
Clearly, individuals have strengths in different areas and it would be unrealistic to expect the individual manager to have outstanding ability in all areas purely by dint of their job title.
Each one of us has probably worked for a manager who seemed to lack the skills needed to lead the team effectively. While at the time we may have been preoccupied with how little support or motivation they gave us, with hindsight it is worth questioning the reasons behind their shortcomings. Were they not given the support and training needed to fulfil the role? Perhaps they were under pressure from higher forces in the organisation and lacked the confidence to try and do things differently?
In these circumstances, it would seem that the importance of good management is being overlooked. Innate ability is important up to a point, but, according to our research, truly successful managers combine this with job experience, in-house management and learning development, and formal qualifications.
Yet rather than receiving the professional status and support their role deserves, many managers are expected to manage teams without the skills and competencies they need to succeed. This not only affects the individual, who fails to achieve their full potential, but the organisation, which fails to maximise performance and productivity through effective management and leadership.
Like other professional disciplines, qualification and regular assessment is the key to raising the importance and status of management. It is a worrying indictment that, among 4.5 million UK managers, only 20% are qualified to do their job. Learning and development programmes should not only equip individuals with management theory, but ensure it is applied in the workplace through regular revision and assessment.
Implemented correctly, we found that management and learning development schemes would improve organisational performance in a number of areas. Not only would it improve the quality and development of products and services and the organisation’s ability to attract the best candidates, but there would also be a marked improvement in internal relations between managers and their staff, and improved productivity.
All evidence points to improving opportunities for UK managers. Equipping individuals with the skills to inspire and motivate their staff will be beneficial to the job fulfilment and wellbeing of the individual as well as the improved performance of the organisation. And with a level of support that reflects the importance of the manager’s role in the company, it is likely that individuals will feel more valued and better prepared to do their job.
To avoid the negative impact poor or untrained managers can have, it is vital to create an environment which supports the future growth of UK plc.
By Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs, Chartered Management Institute