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Incidental managers could be contributing to the Great Resignation

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The saying goes that people don't leave bad jobs, only bad managers, and a lack of proper training could be costing organisations.

Speaking to HR magazine Ian Luxford, learning specialist at online learning platform The Motivation Agency, argued that inexperienced line managers may be overlooking the real reasons people are leaving.

He said: "The first problem is as a new line manager, you probably don’t know what you don’t know, so you don’t realise you need help until it's too late.

"They’ve gone though their career thinking everything is ok, not realising that actually they aren’t managing those people very well. Some of the people that leave could give another excuse for why they’e leaving, but it may have been down to that line manager."


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He suggested that many line managers are victims of their own success.

"About two thirds of managers are incidental managers. They got into the job because they’re good at what they do rather than because they can manage people. That person probably has every right to be a manager, they just need to be trained into it properly."

This he said is leading to line managers to underestimate the scale of the job. 

He added: "Half of the problem is that managers for the most part don’t realise that it's an exceptionally tricky job to do.

"When they hit a problem they may recognise that don’t have the required skills. It's led to a lot of hidden issues which are coming to the forefront now. We have something of a crisis – this has been brewing since we first decided to have line managers."

As the role demands interaction with people, Luxford argued that empathy managing people should take precedence.

"They [line managers] should be able to get close to what is driving that team and why it’s important to them. There also needs to be an understanding of health and wellbeing, how that can impact your team, what you can and can’t do as a manager, and deciding where to bring in additional support."

Remote management is an added skill many may lack too he added.

He said: "Hundreds of thousands of managers just two years ago, were thrown into this situation where they were suddenly managing a remote team, and nobody gave them the skills to do so - which is forgivable because nobody knew."

"But actually flexible working is really important for a lot of  people and it provides a lot of value for organisations. If that's part of your responsibility, managing remotely is not a natural thing."