Accidental Managers are Driving Away Talent

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Photo Credits - Luke Chesser via Unsplash

Accidental managers, managers who are promoted due to their popularity but are not quite fit for the job, have been found to drive talent away according to a new study by the Chartered Management Institute and YouGov. 

CMI published the report this month, which goes over the importance of having better managers in UK organisations. Talent retention is a constant challenge for employers to navigate, specifically in the UK workforce, this is further complicated when inadequate managers are leading the firm. 

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Findings of the CMI and YouGov Study

Accidental managers and the impacts discussed in the CMI and YouGov report

In the study titled “Taking Responsibility: Why UK plc needs better managers,” it was discovered that only 27% of employees consider their managers to be highly effective. This is negatively impacting several aspects of employees’ experiences, including their likelihood to leave their jobs, their motivation at work, and their satisfaction with their compensation.

Among those employees who don’t rate their managers highly, half (50%) are planning to leave their current company within the next year. Only one-third (34%) of them feel motivated to perform well in their roles, and just one in four (25%) are content with their overall pay.

One significant finding from the report is the prevalence of untrained managers in the UK, many of whom are promoted into management positions due to popularity, job proficiency, or availability. The report highlights that 82% of managers who enter these roles have not received proper management and leadership training, earning them the label “accidental managers.”

According to the research, these “accidental managers” are often given promotions for the wrong reasons, with nearly half of the surveyed managers (46%) believing that their colleagues earned promotions based on internal relationships and visibility rather than their actual competence and performance.

The study also uncovers notable disparities among managers based on gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds. Male managers (22%) are more likely than female managers (15%) to believe they have already learned enough about management.

Managers from lower socio-economic backgrounds (57%) are more likely than those from higher socio-economic backgrounds (48%) to lack management and leadership qualifications. 

Furthermore, managers from white ethnic backgrounds (81%) are more likely to report fair and respectful treatment by their own managers compared to managers from non-white ethnic backgrounds (70%).

These shortcomings in management are emerging at a time when various high-profile media reports have exposed misconduct, mismanagement, and toxic workplace cultures in existing institutions.

Who are Accidental Managers?

Accidental managers are people who have been promoted into management positions without having had any proper training or experience. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as because they are good at their job, they are popular with their colleagues, or they are simply the most available person for the role.

Accidental managers often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective leaders. They may not be able to motivate or inspire their team members, and they may not be able to delegate tasks effectively. This can lead to a number of problems, such as low morale, decreased productivity, and high employee turnover.

In addition, accidental managers may be more likely to create toxic work environments. They may be micromanaging, abusive, or simply incompetent. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression among employees, which can have a negative impact on their health and well-being.

Accidental managers can also stifle innovation and creativity. They may be more likely to stick to the status quo and avoid taking risks. This can lead to the UK falling behind other countries in terms of economic competitiveness.

It is important to note that not all accidental managers are failures. Some accidental managers are able to learn on the job and become effective leaders. However, many accidental managers struggle in their new roles. This is why it is so important for businesses to invest in management training and development.

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How Better Managers Can Create a Better Workforce

Good managers are essential for creating a better workforce. They are responsible for motivating and inspiring their team members, providing them with the resources they need to succeed, and creating a positive and productive work environment.

Here are some of the ways that managers can create a better workforce:

  • Provide clear and concise feedback. Employees need to know what they are doing well and what they can improve on. Good managers provide regular feedback that is specific, timely, and constructive.
  • Empower employees to make decisions. Employees are more engaged and productive when they feel like they have a say in their work. Good managers empower employees to make decisions and take ownership of their projects.
  • Invest in employee development. Good managers are always looking for ways to help their employees grow and develop. They provide training opportunities and encourage employees to take on new challenges.
  • Create a positive and supportive work environment. Good managers foster a sense of community and belonging among their team members. They create a work environment where employees feel valued and respected.

When employees have good managers, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. They are also more likely to stay with the company for the long term. This can lead to a number of benefits for businesses, such as increased profitability, reduced turnover costs, and improved customer service.

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