Managers not as good as they think - shocker

A new study has found that people in management roles generally think they are better at it than those they manage do...

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Too many managers have an exaggerated view of their ability to do their jobs, according to a new study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Eight out of 10 managers believe their staff are satisfied with their management skills, but only 58% of those staff actually agree with them. Obviously some of the UK’s eight million managers need to look in the mirror…

The study is calling the disparity a ‘reality gap’ that is resulting in decreased performance from millions of workers across the UK. The study also found a link between employees being satisfied with their manager, and increased engagement and productivity in their job, meaning the ‘reality gap’ is actually an important measure of a company’s performance. 

Someone was telling porkies on at least one side of the survey however, with stark findings such as: ‘Six in 10 managers claim they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload…however, just 24% of employees say they meet their manager with such frequency.’ Who’s telling the truth? It’s hard to tell, but the study does belie a widespread discrepancy between managers’ and employees’ views. It would be interesting to know some figures about time spent ‘managing up’ – and what the managers’ managers think…

The CIPD’s head of public policy, Ben Wilmott, said: ‘Too many managers fall into a vicious circle of poor management; they don’t spend enough time providing high quality feedback to the people they manage.’ This does seem to sidestep the point that a lot of employees will be dissatisfied with a boss that won’t stand for laziness in the workplace.

Wilmott also points out that many managers find themselves promoted to management roles because they have superior technical skills, but are not always cut out for managing people without additional training or coaching. If the training is not forthcoming, the technically proficient will not always be the slickest of line managers. 

Interestingly, the study also found that 72% of employers reported a deficit of leadership and management skills. Of course there are no guarantees that investing in expensive management training courses will actually work on all people, and businesses, especially SMEs, will have trouble finding money for that in very tight budgets. 
Anyway, get back to work, people. I’ll be in my office and I don’t want to be disturbed.

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