Bad management tolerated to a “shocking degree” say employment experts

Employers wouldn’t dream of appointing a person to a senior role for which they have no experience, yet in a new study nearly half admit individuals within their organisation have been promoted into a managerial role based on their performance record rather than people management or leadership skills. According to a report from the CIPD, 36 per cent of line managers have not received any training for their role, with any time for effective line management often squeezed or lost in favour of more immediate task oriented priorities. With 24 per cent of managers facing situations where they often have to put the interests of their organisation above the interests of team members, many might be left confused and aim for quick wins over the interests and wellbeing of team members.

The survey, Real-life leaders: closing the knowing-doing gap’ reveals that efforts to foster positive manager behaviours are being undermined by the lack of a consistent message of what organisations expect of managers. The research also found that 28 per cent of companies have not taken any action when they have received poor feedback on line managers.

The CIPD is urging businesses to reinforce the messages of line manager training with clarity of roles and expectations, rigorous assessment processes, and relevant incentives.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, Research Associate at CIPD, said: “We hear organisations lament the lack and quality of leaders, but we aren’t seeing evidence of their commitment to drive good leadership and management practices. For 29 per cent of managers in the CIPD survey ‘other priorities’ stand in the way of ensuring that the interests of the team members are supported, raising questions about the priorities that managers- and the organisations – attach to the wellbeing of their staff. These findings are a wake-up call for businesses to re-align the systems and structures in place in their organisations to support leadership development.

“Businesses address issues such as poor customer service or faulty machinery straight away, whereas bad management across organisations is tolerated to a shocking degree. In the CIPD survey, 28 per cent of organisations failed to act upon poor feedback on line managers; and nearly half (48%) confessed that individuals were promoted into managerial roles based on their performance record rather than people management or leadership skills.

“It’s time for business to identify and address the roots of bad management, recognising that a more consistent approach to training and supporting leaders at all levels of an organisation is needed to drive sustainable performance.”