Ask most business leaders what they feel is critical to the success of their organisation, and to the UK economy as a whole, and they'll probably cite high-quality management and leadership. Many will also say these skills are in short supply, and that they're looking to establish new approaches to developing management performance throughout their organisations.
This is despite the fact there has been an explosion of business education over the past 25 years. It is the most popular subject at undergraduate level and more than 100 UK institutions now offer MBA programmes. However, while academic studies are effective in teaching management techniques and tools, another dimension to management involves work- ing with and through others. Managing and leading people also requires skills developed through practice and experience.
Yet nearly half of all junior managers rate the quality of leadership in their organisation as poor, and more than a third of small businesses close within their first three years because of management failings. So the education system, training providers and companies need to face up to the challenge of fostering leadership skills in people at all levels. But we can only do this by valuing the integration of formal and informal learning.