13 March 2015

Is your business getting the best out of your line managers?

Some line managers lack the skill set to run their teams effectively. What can you do to develop them?

Research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests that up to 85% of managers lack the necessary skills to run their teams in an effective manner, and up to 70% of people leaving jobs say they are doing so because of poor line managers

An effective line manager leads their team, mentoring and motivating them and, in turn, delivering business success. How can your businesses make the most of their managers and ensure they keep employees happy?

Shortage of expertise
The CMI study suggests some managers lack the expertise needed to help guide their organisations to future success:

  • Over two-thirds admit they are ineffective at using social media
  • More than half struggle with big data
  • Two-fifths say they are poor at networking
  • A third have trouble decentralising decision making 
  • A quarter struggle to create agile teams that can work together
  • A similar proportion fail to tackle underperformance

The figures are a reminder that employers cannot afford to neglect developing their managers’ skills if they are serious about success.

Need to adapt
Deepak Jas, the BBC’s head of HR, believes what is being asked of line managers today is significantly different from a decade ago, with line managers now holding overall responsibility for engagement and performance.

Jas told delegates at the HR Game Changer Conference in September that more training is needed to bring them up to speed with what is expected. HR Grapevine reported Jas arguing that, today, the gap between leadership and management is diminishing.

“I think we expect our managers to be leaders these days as well, and that means managers of the future are going to have to take on the role of ‘magnet’,” he was quoted as saying.

Jas explained he expected to see emotional intelligence become an important line manager attribute in the future. “The best line managers in our organisation at the BBC have high EQ scores,” he said. You can measure the EQ of your managers using this questionnaire from the University of Washington

Managing sickness absence
Line managers must deal with sickness absence on a regular basis.

This is a matter which must be handled sensitively and professionally. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently developing guidelines to help employers improve the health and wellbeing of their workers.

They are to recommend:

  • Giving line managers greater control over flexible work patterns
  • Considering how job structures and workplace design can impact health and wellbeing
  • Making health and wellbeing a business-critical issue

The role of the line manager is evolving. By developing your line managers’ skills you’ll be equipping them with the varied attributes they need to not just manage people, but to lead them too.


Management skills boost needed to ‘future-proof’ UK PLC
70% leave job because of line manager's performance
Sickness absence: NICE guidelines to focus on line managers

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