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Changing world of work must drive management makeover

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20th Jan 2014
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Management needs a makeover if optimism is to fuel long-term growth and companies are to prepare effectively for the future business landscape, said the Chartered Management Institute recently.

CMI’s survey of 750 of the UK’s top leaders identified where managers will need to excel by the end of the decade if the UK economy is to grow and compete internationally.

The CMI is predicting significant change in the workplace between now and 2020: 59% of managers surveyed said the traditional 9-5 will disappear, while 54% expect the boundaries between home and work life to become entirely blurred. Bosses also predict closer monitoring of staff: 57% believe people metrics will be routinely used to track performance.

To effectively deal with these changes, managers identified several priorities for the upcoming year: 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%).

Despite the reported importance of these skills, many of them came out at the bottom when managers were asked to self-report on their current abilities. The most common area of weakness admitted by managers was technology skills – 68% self-reported ineffectiveness at using social media while 57% were unable to use big data. Networking was the third lowest-rated skill with 40% of managers rating themselves ineffective – this was followed by decentralising decision-making (34%), creating agile teams (27%) and tackling underperformance (24%).

The CMI suggested four tips to help managers develop in 2014:

  • Stop controlling and start coaching. It’s better for growth, job satisfaction and employee wellbeing. Research shows growing organisations are those with empowering, trusting management styles whereas ‘command and control’ styles are linked with decline. Managers who make a pledge to coach their staff to find their own strengths this New Year will have happy, engaged, highly performing teams.
  • Bring your personal ethics to work. Companies where the organisation’s values are linked to its people’s values fare better. Be inclusive and embrace diversity to bring together talented individuals across your business. If you’re open and lead by example, your organisation will benefit from a transparent workplace culture where everyone knows what’s expected of them and they work hard to make a valuable contribution.
  • Get networked. Stop competing and start collaborating, inside and outside of your business. It will help build lucrative partnerships and facilitate innovation. The most successful managers are continuously learning from everything going on around them and everyone they interact with.
  • Think agile. The more quickly and easily you can adapt to change and creatively combine people, processes and technology, the more successful you’ll be. Agile managers thrive on being flexible, dynamic and innovative and have a knack for building fluid teams as well as seamlessly adjusting to different environments and cultures.

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, said: “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.”

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