Bad bosses driving away staff - the CMI responds

CMI boss Ruth Spellman replies to MT reader comments on its 'Manifesto for a Better Managed Britain'.

On Wednesday we wrote about the CMI’s new report, which argues that there’s a crisis of confidence in British management and calls for a greater emphasis on formal training. But not all of you agreed that the situation is as bad as the CMI makes out. When its CEO Ruth Spellman saw your comments, she asked us if she could respond to some of the points raised – and explain why she thinks good managers are made, not born…

‘CMI’s Better Managed Britain campaign isn’t about undermining managers, or apportioning blame. We know that, as one of your readers puts it, there are some great managers out there and it hasn’t exactly been the easiest year for businesses generally. Yet, as our research shows, management is facing a crisis.

‘There is an urgent need to refocus the attention of UK businesses on the way individuals learn to manage. Good managers aren’t born, they are made. While some individuals undoubtedly have a greater aptitude for management than others, management requires a combination of skills that are acquired over time and a dedicated commitment to its development. By setting out practical solutions for raising management and leadership standards in our Manifesto, if adopted, we can ensure a competitive future, based on talent and adequate training. 

‘Far too many people are unclear about the skills required to be a good manager, or what a good manager does. In addition, management doesn’t tend to be regarded as a profession in its own right and is, more often than not, perceived as an add-on to your primary occupation. The assumption is that because someone is an expert within the boundaries of their own role, they will automatically be great at managing someone else.  Too few organisations are focused on preparing individuals for the transition into management, or supporting them once they occupy those roles.

‘Commanding respect from your staff is essential to being a good manager. If people have no faith in your abilities or, worse still, think they could do a better job, then you have fallen at the first hurdle. You can be great at managing processes, budgets and timelines, but if your people management skills are poor, cracks will appear. Good managers ensure their own behaviour matches organisational values, and practice what they preach, thus leading by example. 

‘When you are on the receiving end of poor management, it can be difficult to know what to do. If the management culture within your organisation is below par, then your motivation levels are likely to be pretty low, as will your desire to make a change. While managing upwards is good in theory, you need a good relationship with your manager to enable you to do this. If two-way communication is lacking, for example, then managing upwards can be nigh on impossible.

‘CMI’s campaign certainly isn’t about discouraging people from becoming managers or seeing management as a natural part of their career progression. We recognise that while a large number of people fall into management by accident, there is a lot to be said for being great at your job and deserving a promotion into a management role. What is important, however, is that there is adequate support and preparation for those making that transition, and regular reviews and access to further training once you are there.’

Any more convinced? Let us know below…

In today's bulletin:

Walsh takes the controls as BA and Iberia agree merger
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Porsche's profits go into reverse after dodgy engineering
Recovery could be 'worse than recession' for SMEs
Bad bosses driving away staff - the CMI responds

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