'Reality gap' in capability of U.K.'s managers

Many unaware of how poorly they perform: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/03/2012

Three-quarters (72 per cent) of employers say there is a lack of leadership and management skills and too many managers have an inflated opinion of their ability to manage people, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

And yet one problem in tackling this skills deficit is many managers don't know how bad they are at managing people, found a CIPD survey of 2,000 employees.

Eight out of 10 managers said they think their staff are satisfied or very satisfied with them as managers whereas 58 per cent of employees report this is the case. And there is a very clear link between employees who say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their manager and those who are engaged, said CIPD.

Leadership and management capability continues to be an Achilles heel for U.K. employers, said Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD.

“A small increase in capability across this huge population of people managers would have a significant impact on people's engagement, well-being and productivity. However, 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."

There is a significant contrast between how managers say they manage their people and the views of their employees, found the survey:
•Sixty-one per cent of managers claim they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload, meeting objectives and other work-related issues. But just 24 per cent of employees say they meet their managers with such frequency.
•More than 90 per cent of managers say they sometimes or always coach the people they manage when they meet, while only 40 per cent of employees agree.
•Three-quarters of managers say they always or sometimes discuss employees' development and career progression during one-to-one meetings, but just 38 per cent of employees say this happens.

"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,” said Willmott.

“Good managers value and prioritize the time with their staff because they realize that this is the only way to get the best out of them. 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.”

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