28 June 2017 By Northern Lights
Businesses across the UK suffer significant losses in productivity because managers are unprepared and unable to manage their teams, a new survey has found.
The comprehensive poll of more than 80 different organisations by York-based organisation development consultancy h2h found the management crisis is getting worse with almost three quarters of managers saying they now spend the majority of their time not managing their team.
The Managers on the Frontline survey aimed to understand this productivity crisis and discovered that first line managers are often debilitated by lack of direction, too many demands on their time and limited support.
Managing Director of h2h Susan Binnersley says: “This poll has highlighted a management crisis that is having a huge impact on UK industries.
“Frontline managers are highly influential, they are critical to the success of the business and are fundamental in creating change within an organisation. They are the key leaders who will help their team members to understand their role within the business vision and, ultimately, motivate them to deliver on a daily basis. However, our survey shows very few managers are actually doing that.
“They are ill equipped to take the lead, don’t understand their own management role and lack the skills to manage a team. This is having a detrimental effect on business performance and, if we resolve this issue, organisations will be more successful through enhanced productivity, engagement and innovation. This could enhance the UK economy and position us more positively in terms of productivity on a global scale.
“This reflects our own findings with engineering and manufacturing companies, hence the survey. In a recent case study we were able to demonstrate that if you can get front line managers focused and equip them with the relevant skills and support, most managers can free up a day and half a week to then focus on the right things. Just imagine what this could do to your business?”
The survey polled managers from 88 businesses across the UK with turnovers ranging from £1m to £1bn+ and each had varying experience from one to more than 20 years. It highlighted a worrying trend in UK management and found:
The survey also found that most managers were eager to learn more and become better managers with top priorities including: better training; a greater understanding of the expectations of being a manager; support with time management; help to improve self-confidence; help with coaching and understanding others; and support to manage people around conflict resolution, poor performance, delegating tasks and coaching and mentoring.
A global manufacturing organisation in the offshore oil and gas sector, worked with h2h to develop a programme that enhanced managers’ skills and created a pipeline of effective leaders of the future. Their Managing Director said: “The impact of properly developing and supporting our managers has been massive.
“It has provided the company with a brand new language that allows us all to communicate in ways we’d never managed before. That ensures everyone in the organisation understands the journey and we all work together to achieve it.”
Susan adds: “Businesses have already recognised the talent by rewarding key people with management roles. However, many are then failing to fully utilise this potential by not providing clarity on the new role, relevant leadership and management development and on the job support.
“Managers clearly have the appetite to do more but may lack the confidence and abilities they need to effectively manage themselves and their team. This survey should be a wake up call to businesses in the UK. We must all do more to make sure our managers are helping us to succeed.”