Friday, 19 April 2013
Leadership Research Finds Managers Lacking Fundamental Skills
I recently read the leadership institute Roffey Park’s annual Management Agenda report which provides indicators of emerging workplace trends in the UK. The Agenda is a survey of 1,460 managers and directors across the UK and reports on managers’ views on a range of issues such as how their organisation copes with external trends and challenges, how the performance and development of its people are managed as well as levels of personal engagement. One of the key findings from this years survey was that forty percent of managers said that underperforming staff or teams are not properly dealt with, while over half (55 per cent) said that redundancies are only handled ‘adequately’. In addition, almost half of managers (45 per cent) said they received ‘low levels of support’ from their organisation, yet they faced an increased use of stretch assignments and enhanced responsibilities. In my view these findings have serious implications for many organisations and their managers as they are faced with having to improve efficiency further and deliver more with the same or reduced resources against a backdrop of zero or low growth. How will managers be able to deliver improved results if they do not have the fundamental skills and confidence to address performance and development issues? Michael Jenkins, Chief Executive of Roffey Park summarized the issue when he said: “Leadership must get the right balance. Whilst leaders need to develop and communicate a clear strategy and vision, they also need to support implementation and the day-to-day management skills of the managers beneath them.” I believe that if organizations are to successfully navigate their way through a continued period of austerity and slow economic recovery they need to ensure that their managers have the fundamental skills (as well as the confidence) to deal with underperforming staff and teams. I recognise that training and development budgets continue to be under pressure, but investing in fundamental management skill development must be made a priority.