Changing world of work must drive management makeover


Management needs a makeover if new year optimism is to be converted into long-term growth, warns the Chartered Management Institute as new research highlights that many managers lack the expertise needed to steer their organisations to success. CMI’s survey of 750 of the UK’s top leaders identifies where managers will need to excel by the end of the decade if the UK economy is to grow and compete internationally. The biggest rising priorities identified by managers include building partnerships and networking (cited by 87% and 78% respectively); creating agile teams and tackling underperformance (85% and 77%); using social media (79%); and managing complexity (76%).

However, the research reveals significant skills gaps, with these top priorities for the future mirrored at the bottom of the list when it comes to managers’ current skills. Assessed across 20 activities, the most common area of weakness admitted by managers was their tech skills, with 68% ineffective at using social media and 57% unable to make use of big data. Networking was the third lowest rated skill (with 40% of managers rating themselves ineffective) followed by team management skills (34% are ineffective at decentralising decision making, 27% at creating agile teams and 24% at tackling underperformance).

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, says: “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. 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 business.”

The likely extent of workplace change between now and 2020 is emphasised by predictions that the traditional 9-5 will disappear (by 59% of managers), with a similar number (54%) expecting the boundaries between home and work life to become entirely blurred. Bosses also predict much closer monitoring of staff, with 57% believing people metrics will routinely be used to track individual performance – which many believe employees will fear (55%). Reflecting the impact of new technologies like social media, managers expect to see more global working and more product development driven by customer input (83% and 77% respectively).

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