Caroline Bellanger Wood

Written by: Caroline Bellanger Wood

Caroline Wood

Learning and Development Consultant

Are you developing (the right) managers?

  • March 2018
  • 3 minutes

What happens when your employees are promoted to manager level? Are they enrolled into a management training programme or do you expect them to learn on the job? 

Managerial skills are nurtured not innate

Effective managers are more than technical experts: they also may need to be facilitators of team work, motivators of staff, emotionally intelligent, excellent negotiators and influencers. They need to know how to set meaningful objectives, plan resources effectively, develop their people and communicate effectively. Few of these skills and knowledge are innate – most need opportunity and training to be developed.

Yet according to the TUC only a third of workers are offered regular training and one in ten employers don’t run any type of leadership activities (CIPD Learning and Development Survey 2015). 

When available, such opportunities tend to target high potential individuals and senior managers rather than middle or new managers (2015 UK employers’ skills survey). Nearly two-thirds of millennials report that their leadership skills are not fully developed (2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey). No wonder then that the 2015 UK employers’ skills survey found that a lack of management and leadership skills was responsible for 58 per cent of cases where staff were not fully proficient, and that 68 per cent of ineffective managers were missing management and motivation skills!

HR employee lifecycle

Source: CIPD Learning and Development survey 2015

HR employee lifecycle

Source: UK Employer skills survey 2015

Developing new managers brings better ROI

Neuro-science proves that purely focusing training on senior managers is highly inefficient. Ineffective senior managers can’t simply stop bad working practices, they need new neural pathways to carry out new tasks and learn new information. This ‘rewiring’ takes much longer than creating the right neural pathways from the outset: not only is that kind of training more costly, it also keeps your most expensive and strategic staff out of the business for longer periods of time.

We also know that employers equate high levels of engagement with improvements in productivity and performance (Growth for everyone: CBI/Accenture employment trends survey 2014) and effective management is a key driver of employee engagement. The benefits of training new and middle-managers are therefore more widely spread, because they tend to have more direct reports and are more involved in day to day operations than senior managers. 

This is vindicated by the fact that ineffective management is amongst one of the top five causes of dispute in the workplace - which we also know impacts your bottom line (Xpert HR workplace conflict survey 2015) - and high development expectations from the new generations entering the workplace.

If you would like to find out more about development solutions for managers, please contact Caroline Bellanger Wood

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