British workers 'under-managed'

Apr 13 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

British workers are suffering the effects of an under-management epidemic, new research has suggested.

While it is well recognised that the relationship between a worker and their immediate boss has a direct effect on their levels of engagement, two thirds of UK organisations are suffering from a shortage of highly effective leaders, the study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has concluded.

As a result many organisations run the risk of experiencing poor productivity and low staff morale, or "under-management", as the CIPD has dubbed it.

The issue is currently being discussed at a CIPD conference.

The key to bouncing back from under-management is line managers, suggested the organisation.

It is up to line managers provide feedback to individuals, offer praise and recognition for good performance and help to those who are under-performing.

Only with consistent support and motivation will staff morale and issues such as retention improve, it argued.

Conference speaker Dr Carolyn Martin, of talent management firm RainmakerThinking, said: "Today's managers have more on their plates than ever before.

"As tiers of management have been stripped out and organisations have become more target driven, managers have found themselves spending more time managing balance sheets than people," she added.

In many cases this had left the workforce under-managed, undermining efforts to achieve business objectives.

"Managing people is just as important as hitting targets or managing budgets. Failure to engage employees and monitor what they are doing leaves managers unable to provide clear direction and support," she explained.

"Having a title doesn't ensure respect and delegating work doesn't ensure results. Employers must make sure the simple things such as communication and team involvement don't get lost in the single-minded drive to hit targets," she added.

Many leaders simply lacked the skills to successfully lead and manage, agreed CIPD training and development adviser Jessica Jarvis.

"Employers need to invest more time in training their managers. It is not enough to just send someone on a course and expect them to manage effectively.

"Training should be combined with a development programme that sets clear objectives in line with the business requirements. Employers should monitor the development of their managers and involve other staff in providing constructive feedback Ė only then will employers improve the skills of their managers," she explained.