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The potential for economic growth ‘shackled’ by a deficit in leadership and management skills

A new startling statistic, if not an entirely surprising fact, reveals just 58 percent of employees are satisfied with their managers.

To compound the problem an embarrassing 8 out of 10 managers personally rate their performance to be ‘satisfactory’ or ‘very satisfactory’ in the eyes of their staff, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

It is this ‘reality gap’ in the relationship between manager and employee, which Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, believes to be the ‘Achilles heel’ in the quest for productivity and economic growth.

It is clear that satisfaction with the manager/employee relationship and with the working environment not only facilitates engagement and productivity, but also provides an incentive for employees to ‘go that extra mile’ for their employer. It is this dedication that can make a huge difference to company output and therefore economic growth.

However, inadequate training and preparation for the role, often through in-house promotion to managerial level, has proven hugely detrimental to production, with managers completely unaware of the effects of their behavior on employees, again, due to lack of training.

Employees require recognition for their work and ideas, and without even a loose structure of performance based incentive, where managers are fully aware of their employees’ responsibilities, those in charge have no grasp on how to better their workforce.

With only 24 percent of employees recorded as meeting their managers with the frequency of twice a month claimed by 61 percent of managers, it is obvious that the necessary processes required during these meetings, such as joint problem solving, communication of ideas, and the discussion of objectives, are not being respected. This leaves employees feeling of lesser worth, and lesser importance to, and connection with, the company. These poor working relationships cause employee stress, absenteeism, and conflict, resulting in disciplinary or grievance issues.

The deficit in management, causing a low level of employee output is more visible than one might realise. At some level, employees must respect their employer and take responsibility for their job. If this deficit is visible on managerial level, this will inevitably filter down through the body of staff and then, to those in communication with the company, resulting in poor yield.

It is therefore a necessity that managers set an example by upholding the key responsibilities of their role, and keeping employees motivated in order to get the best results possible out of their staff.

Using low or no cost training methods, such as mentoring, manager shadowing, and online learning and support systems, Willmott feels managers could address the skills gap so urgently required for leadership and management, and ultimately, economic growth.

Daisy Atkinson

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