Managers aren't as good at people management as they think they are, Chartered Management Institute research reveals
David Woods, August 05, 2010
Managers are over-estimating their strengths in the workplace, which is hindering the performance of the UK's already struggling businesses and public-sector organisations, new research claims.
According to a report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), of the 2,158 managers polled, almost half (44%) said they excelled at managing people; 21% claim to be ‘target-busters’, 19 % believed they were strongest at managing themselves and just 14% felt they were born to lead.
CMI has since put those perceptions to the test by inviting UK workers to use a specially-developed self-diagnostic tool to work out where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
The results strongly contradict managers’ perceptions, revealing that, in practice, UK managers are best at getting results (41%) and strong leadership (37%). Just 14% of the 6,056 people who used the tool excelled at people management and 8% proved to be best at managing themselves.
CMI is blaming this strength-perception gap on a perilous combination of years of inadequate training and development for those in management roles and the increasing number of people who reluctantly fall into management positions.
Ruth Spellman, chief executive of CMI, said: "We’re desperately short of good leaders in this country – just look at how many FTSE 100 companies have sourced CEOs from abroad and how many Premier League clubs have foreign managers. We’re crying out for much-needed home-grown leadership talent and it’s frustrating that employers are failing to capitalise on the dormant leadership skills that their employees don’t yet realise they have.
"Management and leadership skill development has been neglected by employers, government and managers themselves for far too long. We need a renewed focus on investment in training and development in this field, both for the current generation and future generations of managers. The first step is for individuals to get serious about their personal development by working out where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Then we’d like to see employers, supported by the new coalition Government, embracing and facilitating this desire to develop – it costs much less to up-skill current employees than bring in new ones."