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Management training in the NHS 'ineffective', say staff

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Management training in the NHS is 'ineffective' according to 93% of NHS staff, an exclusive report published by professional services firm Hillcroft House has found.

The report showed only 6% of NHS employees agreed that training their manager attended had a positive impact on that person's leadership skills. (The remaining 1% were undecided).

The study, (seen exclusively by HR magazine), of more than 1,000 employees working in the private sector and the NHS, found private sector managers are more effective than their NHS counterparts after attending leadership training,

Hillcroft House first undertook research on the state of leadership in the UK health sector in 2008. When comparing results between 2008 and 2013 it showed a decline in leadership training for both private sector businesses and the NHS.

People challenges

The UK Leadership: Is it working?report showed since 2008 there has been a decline of investment in leadership development in healthcare.

It stated if ineffective and poor leadership continues then private businesses and public sector organisations will see a decrease in profitability and performance.

Helen Gordon, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, chief executive, told HR magazine that leadership development is critical to organisational performance.

"Investment in leadership development is key and I am concerned that at time of extraordinary time of change in healthcare the NHS and private organisations delivering healthcare should be investing more in leaders," said Gordon.

'Fluffy leadership'

Despite leadership training in the private sector proving more effective than in the NHS, 75% of private sector employees, still disagree that they had seen a positive change in the leadership behaviour of their manager.

Gordon said poor leadership is "not unique to the NHS". "What we have is a UK-wide problem. The solution is to make some positive and much needed changes in the management culture of both the private and public sector," she said.

"Understanding effective leadership is not a soft skill and it is not fluffy," said Gordon.

Gordon added: "My experience in the NHS was that leadership development was encouraged and I know I have become a better leader because of that.

"The focus on behaviours and style of leadership is a fundamental part of NHS reform reaffirmed by the Francis and Berwick reports."