UK needs to close managerial skills gap

"The critical skills they’re missing aren't easy to teach. Adopting a more participative management style, collaborating, building and energising networks of people plays a much bigger part."

Jonathon Hogg, PA expert in people and organisational change.

Front-line managers need to improve their capabilities if UK businesses are to match the productivity and skills of their international competitors.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Acas (the UK body that encourages people to work together effectively) have urged the government to invest in this area, to help address the expertise deficit faced by many companies.

They noted that poor people management can lead to a drop in productivity, conflict in the workplace and an unsatisfied workforce.

Acas chief executive John Taylor stated that effective line managers provide good role models for employees; their behaviour is central to staff's performance and commitment to a business. They are also key to the success of flexible working practices, as well as being able to drive their company forward.

"These people management skills are more critical than ever as the UK's economy emerges from recession and positions itself for the recovery," Mr Taylor said.

The British Chambers of Commerce has also said that the government should take care to nurture skilled workers in order to help businesses out of the recession, concluding there is a danger that knowledge and expertise could have been lost over recent months.

Jonathon Hogg, an expert in people and organisational change at PA Consulting Group, comments: "We have too many unskilled managers knocking around and that's bad for many things: performance, innovation, motivation and the bottom line.

"But the critical skills they’re missing aren't easy to teach," added Mr Hogg. "The real challenge is to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence, then to provide tools to enable them to engage fully in the running and targeted improvement of their organisation.

"This often means helping them to adopt a more participative management style where engaging others, collaborating, building and energising networks of people plays a much bigger part."

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