"Management makeover" essential for achieving leadership goals, says CMI

16 January 2014 -

Ann Francke Book

Building partnerships, creating agile teams and using new technology have been identified as key priorities by latest Chartered Management Institute research

UK companies have been urged to reform their management teams to provide conditions for long-term growth, as new research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) reveals that many managers do not have the correct skills to steer their organisations to success.

In a survey of 750 industry leaders, CMI found that the main areas of expertise required for boosting competitiveness on a national and international scale include building partnerships (cited by 87% of respondents) and networking (cited by 78%); creating agile teams (85%) and tackling underperformance (77%); plus using social media (79%) and managing complexity (76%).

By contrast though, the study shows that the current skillsets of a significant proportion of managers leave a lot to be desired. The most common weakness cited was technology-related skills, with 68% of managers admitting to being ineffective at using social media. Meanwhile, 57% are unable to productively harness big data. Despite the importance of networking in building new relationships with potential partners and clients, 40% of managers claimed to be ineffectual on that front. Team-management skills were also found wanting, with 34% stating they are unsuccessful at decentralising decision making. Some 27% lacked the skills to create agile teams and 24% fell flat on tackling underperformance.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Business optimism is on the up – but this is a reminder that no employer can afford to neglect their managers’ skills if they’re serious about success. Management shortcomings are already part of the reason why the UK lags behind competitors like the US and Germany, and we could fall further behind if we don’t prepare now for the future.”

In CMI’s view, by the end of the decade all of these key skills will be ever-more important assets, as workplaces and working time structures are tipped for radical change across the majority of business sectors. Notably, 59% of managers expect the traditional nine-to-five will become extinct by 2020, with 54% expecting that the boundaries between home and work life will become entirely blurred. Bosses also foresee that a much closer monitoring of staff will come into play, with 57% predicting that people metrics will be used routinely to track individual performance – a prospect that 55% of managers think that employees will fear (55%). In addition, high proportions of managers expect to be involved with increased amounts of global working (83%), and product development driven by customer input (77%).

Francke added: “While managers can see that changes in the business environment will transform how they work, many admit to lacking the skills needed to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Employers need to prioritise these critical management skills to future-proof their businesses.”

With that in mind, CMI has issued four recommendations for managers looking to develop skills to fuel success in 2014:

1. Coach, not control, staff

Research shows that growing organisations are those with empowering, trusting management styles, while “command and control” styles are linked with decline. CMI says that managers who focus on guiding their employees will be rewarded with happy, engaged, high-performing teams.

2. Remember your ethics

Be inclusive and embrace diversity, in order to bring together talented individuals across your business. Like all great leaders, setting a good example is a vital asset – and your organisation will benefit from a transparent workplace culture where everyone knows what’s expected of them.

3. Network, network, network

Whether it’s inside or outside your organisation, focus on building lucrative corporate partnerships and facilitate innovation by continuously learning from your surroundings.

4. Be agile

The better you can adapt to change and creatively combine people, processes and technology, the more successful you’ll be. Agile managers thrive on being flexible, dynamic and innovative, and have a knack for building fluid teams as well as seamlessly adjusting to different environments and cultures.

Today, Francke launches her comprehensive guidebook How to Make a Difference and Get Results (pictured above), highlighting best-practice management and leadership techniques for both now and in the future. Published in conjunction with Financial Times Guides, the book provides a straight-talking and balanced guide to management, drawing on Francke’s own, extensive experience as a leader, as well as those of other notable figures.

Francke stressed: “Managers should be starting 2014 with real determination to get future fit, so they can lead the changes that are going to transform how we work over the rest of this decade. Tomorrow’s top managers will be those who get networked, who lead with integrity and who create agile, high-performing teams.”

Find out more about Ann Francke’s book and order copies
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