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‘Accidental Managers’ causing disgruntled employees

Posted by HR & Employment Team

A new study has found that a large number of managers in the UK are “accidental managers,” meaning they were promoted to management positions without any formal training. This is leading to high levels of attrition, as employees are leaving their jobs because of negative work cultures and ineffective managers.

The study, conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and YouGov, found that one in three people have left jobs because of a negative work culture, and half of those who say their bosses are ineffective plan to quit in the next year. Workers who rate their manager as ineffective are more likely to be planning to leave their organisation in the next 12 months than those who say their line manager is effective (50% vs 21%).

The CMI said that managers with formal training are significantly more likely to call out bad behaviour or report concerns of wrongdoing compared to those who have not had any training. Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said that the report was “a wake-up call for a low-growth, low-productivity, and badly managed Britain to take management and leadership seriously”.

The research, titled “Taking Responsibility: Why UK plc needs better managers,” found that “accidental managers” are often promoted for the wrong reasons, with nearly half of managers surveyed (46%) believing colleagues won promotions based on internal relationships and profile, rather than their ability and performance.

While one in four people in the UK workforce holds a management role, only a quarter of workers (27%) describe their manager as “highly effective”. Of those workers who do not rate their manager, only a third (34%) feel motivated to do a good job and only one in four (25%) are happy with their overall compensation.

A large majority (72%) of those workers who rated their manager as effective felt valued and appreciated. This figure dropped to just 15% when the manager was rated as ineffective.

Francke said: “The picture of the UK economy in recent years has been a seemingly relentless drip feed of entrenched challenges, from stalled productivity, labour shortages, skills gaps, to instances of shocking behavioural failings by individuals and organisations that have catapulted the UK into the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

“Promotions based on technical competence that ignore behaviour and other key leadership traits are proving, time and time again, to lead to failings that cause damage to individuals and their employers, not to mention the wider economy’s performance.”

She added: “On a very practical level, skilled managers should be seen as a reputational insurance policy – they will help prevent toxic behaviours, they will call out wrongdoing and they will get the best out of their teams.”

The research found that 82% of managers who enter management positions have not had any formal management and leadership training – the so-called “accidental managers” – and 26% of senior managers and leaders had not received management or leadership training.

The study also revealed divides among managers across gender, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds. Male managers (22%) were significantly more likely than women (15%) to say they had already learned enough about management, and managers from lower socio-economic backgrounds (57%) were more likely than managers from higher socio-economic backgrounds (48%) to say that they did not have management and leadership qualifications.

Managers from white ethnic backgrounds were also more likely to say that their manager treats them fairly and with respect (81%), compared to those from non-white ethnic backgrounds (70%).

Lessons for employers:

  • Invest in formal management and leadership training for all managers, regardless of their level of experience. This will help to ensure that all managers have the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders.
  • Promote people to management positions based on their ability and performance, rather than their internal relationships or profile. This will help to ensure that managers are selected for the right reasons.
  • Create a culture of transparency and accountability in the workplace. This will encourage managers to call out bad behaviour and report concerns of wrongdoing.
  • Provide managers with the support they need to succeed. This may include providing them with access to resources, training, and coaching.

By taking these steps, employers can help to reduce the number of “accidental managers” in the workplace and create a more positive and productive work environment.

Supportis can help employers with all aspects of HR, including implementing promotion policies and management training and development. We have a team of experienced HR professionals who can provide advice and support to employers.

To find out more about Supportis, call today on 0161 603 2156 and speak to one of our friendly team about how we can help your business flourish.

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