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Sarah Chamberlain MBA, Head of Apprenticeship Delivery at York St John University

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Research suggests that four out of five of employees are promoted to managerial roles based on talent, skill or experience, but are not suitably equipped to cope with leading a team.

Introducing ‘The Accidental Manager’- particularly common amongst those who have shown loyalty to a business or assume they are next in line for the job. 

Sarah Chamberlain MBA, Head of Apprenticeship Delivery at York St John University, has shared key tips on how to better prepare such employees for new roles and responsibilities.

Management is an entirely different skill to excelling in a previous role:

  • How can companies better prepare their employees for this title?
  • How can managers improve upon their own skills?

1. Invest in your employees

  • Identify strengths and areas for development
  • Encourage self-learning
  • Professional training

2. Create the right culture

  • Define vision and values and strategic fit with the organisation
  • Strong collaboration with stakeholders and wider networks
  • Operate an open-door policy and encourage feedback
  • Encourage innovation and change

3. Collaborate with your team

  • Welcome and value ideas that all employees offer
  • Encourage flexible learning and working
  • Implement succession planning and talent management

4. Recognition and motivation

  • Understand the motivation of your employees as individuals
  • Recognise efforts and performance
  • Be clear on expectations, objectives and goals

Through the government’s apprenticeship levy scheme which ends in September 2021, employers can fund their own management apprenticeship programmes to accelerate the progression of employees so that they don't fall into the trap of becoming an 'Accidental Manager.'.

Over 90 British universities and colleges, including York St John, provide the Senior Leaders Degree Apprenticeship to help businesses do just that. It takes just 15 months to complete with students in full-time employment while learning.

Brendan Paddison 100x100Brendan Paddison, Associate Dean of York Business School, said,

“Our Senior Leaders Apprenticeship has been designed to allow learners to gain a critical understanding of management knowledge, on which effective leadership and problem-solving skills can be developed in accordance with York St John’s proud tradition of social justice and impact.

“Students gain both the academic and practical experiences necessary to address contemporary global problems and challenges. Our teaching team is committed to ensuring students achieve their ambitions and are fully supported on their learning journey.”

The degree focuses on the development of the strategic, tactical and operational leadership skills of those contributing to the performance and long-term vision and growth of organisations. The programme also aims to accelerate the progression of experienced managers and functional specialists.

Sarah Chamberlain MBA, Head of Apprenticeship Delivery at York St John University

Eliminate the ‘Accidental Manager’ - Invest in Management and Leadership Before It’s Too Late 

4th Dec 2019: The next Government has a responsibility to rebuild confidence in the British economy by placing skills and training at the forefront of its agenda.

The Chartered Management Institute is calling on all political parties to address the skills gap in the UK economy - which will need 1.9 million new, effective managers by 2024, according to CMI research. 

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, on the launch of the CMI manifesto said:

“The UK needs to invest in the skills of the modern knowledge economy - digital, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure. But what is vitally important is that we also include management and leadership skills in that investment. Without good managers and leaders, all those skills in these various sectors will not be harnessed in order to boost Britain’s productivity.”

CMI Manifesto 2019: The CMI is calling on the next Government to eliminate the ‘Accidental Manager’ - those managers promoted without any coaching, training or support from their employer - by adopting the following measures:

  1. Commit to increasing the number and standard of qualified managers and leaders across the UK. This will ensure inclusive workplaces are embedded in working culture as well as boost productivity.

  2. Accelerate efforts to close pay gaps. Extend reporting requirements to include more organisations; require employers to set targets for closing the gap, and to report annually on progress.These should include additional measures such as ethnicity, availability and use of flexible working, and shared parental leave and pay.

  3. CMI believe it is time for ‘Transparency with Teeth’. When firms fail to meet their transparency and reporting commitments regarding diversity and inclusion, the government should have the power to impose sanctions. Consider limiting access to contract opportunities, or extracting fines that could be used to fund programmes with a demonstrable impact on closing gender and ethnicity pay gaps. Consider introducing incentives for firms to invest in female leaders and upskilling women returners because the talent pipeline remains broken. 

  4. Raise awareness and implementation of flexible working. Only 1 in 4 managers fully understand flexible working legislation, and government data suggests the take-up of Shared Parental Leave, designed to increase the time men spend with their new child, may be as low as 2%. Our recent survey showed that only 11% of managers have had someone they manage take Shared Parental Leave in the last 24 months, compared to 33% for parental leave.

  5. Ensure all school and college leavers and graduates have access to leadership and management development as a core part of their studies.  By 2030, 375 million workers worldwide, around 14% of the global workforce, may need to find new jobs and careers as automation and advances in AI transform the world of work. Some existing roles and occupations will disappear, and many new ones will be created: some forecasts predict that 85% of the jobs in 2030 do not exist yet. This will require retraining and reskilling on an unprecedented scale. 

  6. Work closely with professional bodies on the roll-out of new education routes (such as T-levels) and in the development of occupational standards. UK education needs to keep up with quickly changing employability needs. Recent policy interventions, for example, to boost the quality of technical education routes, are welcome but T-levels are yet to be rolled out and many people are confused about the value and relevance of different routes. For example, in schools there are still big gaps in how apprenticeships and technical education are perceived and presented.

  7. Involve professional bodies in a national awareness-raising campaign around the different routes through higher-level education: cover, holistically, T-levels, Higher Technical Qualifications, degrees and degree apprenticeships. This should link to continued pressure on schools to provide effective careers guidance covering all educational routes and options.

Accidental Managers Are Draining Productivity

2017 research from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics found that four out of five of employees who are promoted to managerial roles are not suitably equipped to cope with leading a team, and this problem was particularly prevalent in Great Britain, with the country scoring just 3.03 out of five for management best practice, behind the US (3.31), Japan (3.23), Germany (3.21) and Canada (3.14).

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