Bad managers driving away talent

Oct 05 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Poor management techniques and inadequate training is putting British businesses at greater risk of losing talented young worker and tuning many off the idea of becoming manages themselves, according to a new survey.

The study by the Institute of Leadership and Management has found that just when firms are needing to attract ever more scarce younger workers, they are in fact deterring them.

Nearly 400,000 UK workers aged 18-24 feel that their manager is holding them back, the survey found.

And British businesses were in danger of losing these future leaders, as one quarter of young workers said they would leave their organisation if they were badly managed.

Bad bosses were putting many young workers off management altogether, with twice as many young people who have had a negative management experience saying they did not want to become a manager in the future (28 per cent), compared with those who get on well with their superiors (14 per cent).

The lack of strong leadership in British businesses was also breeding cynicism in young people, with a quarter of young workers believing they could do a better job than their current manager.

Old style, dictatorial management practices top the list of management don'ts, with 60 per cent of respondents saying that they most disliked a manager who looked for someone to blame.

Managers who expected staff to do as they were told without debate, those who did not allow staff to contribute and those who were obstructive were also unpopular.

A massive 86 per cent put approachability at the top of the wish list when it came to desirable management traits, followed by letting staff "get on with the job", being team-focused and consultative.

Yet, managed well, young workers were not lacking ambition, the survey also found.

Four out of 10 said they would like to manage a team of their own within five years.

Kim Parish, ILM chief executive, said: "It's imperative that we develop our young talent because they have no qualms about moving on.

"Young people will leave organisations if they experience poor management and that, combined with the increasing trend for portfolio careers, means that businesses risk losing the talent they have put so much time, money and effort into recruiting and developing," he added.