Are your line managers your Achilles heel?
The CIPD has just published two valuable survey reports: its latest quarterly Employee Outlook Report1 and the Learning and Talent Development Annual Survey Report2. They are valuable not so much because they provide new insight but rather because they support the findings of other research and put renewed focus on the shortcomings of many of the UK’s line managers in terms of their people management skills. Shortcomings which, according to the CIPD, represent a significant impediment to economic growth.
In this piece I focus on four key findings. The surveys show that:
- Employees are generally positive towards their line managers as people
- But a significant proportion say those managers are poor at providing feedback on personal performance, coaching and discussing personal training and development needs
- Few line managers are aware of these shortcomings
- But 85% of organisations do recognise they lack leadership and management skills.
Our own research supports these findings, and also points to the qualities people most value in their immediate managers:
- Setting clear and consistent expectations
- Giving positive feedback and recognition for work well done
- Encouraging and supporting people’s growth and development
- Valuing people’s unique qualities
- Showing care, concern and interest in people.
As the CIPD research shows, these qualities are frequently key drivers of engagement and they’re manifestly lacking in many line managers. The result is low engagement and poor performance.
So the question is: are your line managers your Company’s Achilles heel? And if so, what’s to be done?
Clearly there are no simple answers. Changing attitudes and behaviour is a major undertaking. But perhaps a good starting point is to ask five basic questions:
- How effective are your senior team as people managers? Do their attitudes and behaviours reflect the attributes employees most value? Are they good role models for your line managers, team leaders and supervisors?
- Do you recruit and appoint people with the right people management attitudes and behaviours? Or do you need to review your recruitment processes?
- Do you recognise and reward people for their performance in terms of people management and raising the level of engagement?
- Is the way you train and coach people consistent with the development of the right people management attitudes and behaviours?
- Are care, concern and encouragement part of your company culture? Are they really part of “the way we do things around here”?
The answers should inform your next step.
This blog draws on the following:
1 CIPD Quarterly Employee Outlook Report
2 CIPD/Cornerstone on Demand Learning and Talent Development Annual Survey Report
You may also want to visit our webpage ‘What impact do line managers have on engagement?’