Britain’s accidental managers

The case for better corporate learning has been made, perhaps inadvertently, by Bank of England economist Andy Haldane.
Paul Lewis
Mar 22, 2017

While it has long been known that Britain suffers low productivity, Mr Haldane asserts that a major cause of this is the country’s mediocre management. In this FT article, Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) notes that unlike in Germany or the US, ‘managerial skills are not being taken seriously and not being valued’ in the UK. Much of the problem lies with Britain’s 2.4m ‘accidental’ managers who are promoted thanks to their ‘skills in the job, not because of their aptitude or experience managing people.’ Unsurprisingly perhaps, a 2012 CMI survey found that 43 per cent of members polled ranked their own managers as ineffective.

Aside from a small group of dynamic, often London-based, ‘frontier companies,’ typical shortcomings include: deficient operations management, inadequate performance monitoring and target-setting, and poor talent management. But companies can raise their game with on-the-job management apprenticeships; pairing and mentoring with more productive organisations; and encouraging managers ‘to spend more time with their direct reports’ Ms Francke says.

Paul Lewis

Editorial Director at Headspring