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Improving social media skills top mangerial priorities

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Almost four in five mangers say improving their social media skills is a key business priority for the future, a study has revealed.

Of the 750 leaders surveyed by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), 68% admitted their social media skills were ineffective and 79% said managers needed to be better at social media to enable the UK economy to grow and compete internationally.

The top priority identified by the study was building partnerships (87%) and networking (78%). Respondents admitted weakness in these areas, with 40% of managers rating themselves ineffective at networking.

Other skills gaps revealed by the study included team management: 34% said they were ineffective at decentralising decision making, 27% were deficient at creating agile teams and 24% were not good at tackling underperformance. More than half (57%) said they were unable to make use of big data.

Claire McCartney, an adviser in resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, said the CMI’s research illustrated managers had “a clear understanding of the skills that are required of them to take their organisations forward” and “strong self-awareness of the gaps in their current skill sets”.

“The use of social media continues to rise rapidly and managers need to ensure they are able to get the most out of this valuable tool and engage with the new generations coming into their organisations to whom social media is second nature,” McCartney said.

“Managing complexity and creating agile teams is crucial in today's and tomorrow's environment of constant change, but in order to do this managers must be able to build strong relationships and gain the support of their teams.”

Creating agile teams was cited as a priority by 85% of the survey’s respondents, and managing complexity by 76%.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said the findings provided a reminder to business that although business optimism was on the rise, “no employer can afford to neglect their managers’ skills if they’re serious about success”.

“Management shortcomings are already part of the reason why the UK lags behind competitors like the US and Germany, and we could fall further behind if we don’t prepare now for the future,” she said.

“While managers can see that changes in the business environment will transform how they work, many admit to lacking the skills needed to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Employers need to prioritise these critical management skills to future-proof their business.”