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Lack of Support for Managers Leads to Leadership Problems

Lack of Support for Managers Leads to Leadership Problems
30 September 2013 John Moore

An amazing finding from new research undertaken by the CIPD concludes that 36% of line managers have not received any training for their role, and that time for effective line management is too often squeezed or lost in favour of more immediate task oriented priorities.

In light of the recent corporate crises in the health care and banking sectors, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is urging businesses to reinforce the messages of line manager training with clarity of roles and expectations, rigorous assessment processes, and relevant incentives.

With 24 per cent of managers facing situations where they often have to put the interests of their organisation above the interests of their team members, many might be left confused and aim for quick wins over the interests and wellbeing of team members, damaging important relationships which could otherwise drive high performance working.

The survey, ‘Real-life leaders: closing the knowing-doing gap‘ reveals that efforts to foster positive manager behaviours are being undermined by the lack of a consistent message of what organisations expect of managers. The research also found that 28 per cent of companies have not taken any action when they have received poor feedback on line managers.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, Research Associate at CIPD, said: “We hear organisations lament the lack and quality of leaders, but we aren’t seeing evidence of their commitment to drive good leadership and management practices. For 29 per cent of managers in the CIPD survey ‘other priorities’ stand in the way of ensuring that the interests of the team members are supported, raising questions about the priorities that managers– and the organisations – attach to the wellbeing of their staff. These findings are a wake-up call for businesses to re-align the systems and structures in place in their organisations to support leadership development.”

“Businesses address issues such as poor customer service or faulty machinery straight away, whereas bad management across organisations is tolerated to a shocking degree. In the CIPD survey, 28 per cent of organisations failed to act upon poor feedback on line managers; and nearly half (48 per cent) confessed that individuals were promoted into managerial roles based on their performance record rather than people management or leadership skills. It’s time for business to identify and address the roots of bad management, recognising that a more consistent approach to training and supporting leaders at all levels of an organisation is needed to drive sustainable performance.”

This research echoes the findings of another research study carried out by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) involving nearly 2000 managers. In their study, ‘The Value of Management and Leadership Qualifications (July 2012)‘, CMI examined managers’ general perceptions of management qualifications and the impact of such qualifications upon both the individual manager and their organisation. They found that management qualifications lead to:

  • Improved performance  – 90 per cent of managers surveyed say their management qualification improved their performance at work
  • Lasting change – 85 per cent of survey respondents say their qualification helped them make lasting changes to the way they manage and lead
  • A ripple effect – 81 per cent of managers were able to pass on their new skills to others following their qualification and 79 per cent improved the performance of their team, suggesting successful transfer of learning to the workplace.

The report includes recommendations for employers to help them deliver management qualifications in order to improve organisational performance.

So what is the answer? The answer is not as simple as saying we just need more training for managers and better qualified managers. We need managers developing within the context of the job roles and responsibilities they currently undertake as well as the ones they will undertake in the medium term future. I am glad to say that the days of ill-focused training have gone and that management development now needs to pay its way – both for the individual and their employer.

In the past six months, Exponential has seen a substantial increase in the number of managers from the public sector registering onto management, leadership and coaching qualification programmes. Following last month’s news story ‘Not All Distance Learning is the Same‘, there has been much more interest in our unusual and innovative approach to delivering distance based programmes.

I think with budgets being tight, employers and managers are looking for more flexible and cost effective delivery methods to support and drive performance – we are proud of the work we do and the impact our programmes have on individual and organisational performance including the quality of leadership.


John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


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