Five-a-day management fundamentals to help raise productivity
Business leaders and government are being urged to take a stand against poor people management, which is often a significant factor in the UK’s productivity gap.
CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme and Acas Chief Executive John Taylor launched the ‘five-a-day’ fundamentals of good management at their joint Resilience through recession conference because of their belief that the country faces a huge challenge to raise the level of people management skills among its 4 million managers if it is to improve the productivity of the UK.
The ‘five-a-day’ management fundamentals developed from CIPD and Acas research and practical experience of management development are grouped as:
• Managing work now and in the future
- Managing the team
- Managing the individual
• Managing conflict and difficult situations
- Managing yourself
Under each heading, there are practical tips for managers to follow to become a better boss (see below for the full list of “management fundamentals”).
The CIPD and Acas have also published a discussion paper Meeting the UK’s people management skills deficit, which sets out the evidence on the importance of good people management, evidence of the poor quality of UK line management in comparison to our international competitors, and recommendations for employers and government.
The paper highlights research showing that while line managers are key to employee engagement they are also the category of staff most likely to be bullies in organisations and are one of the top causes of conflict and work-related stress. It also reveals that employees score their line managers particularly badly on the extent they make clear what is expected of them, provide feedback on their performance, discuss their training and development needs or coach them on the job.
CIPD Chief Executive Jackie Orme said: “Standards of line management in the UK are all too often poor. If we’re to close the productivity and skills gaps with our international competitors, we need to improve the management capability of our front-line managers.
“Business needs to recognise the potentially costly truth that employees join good organisations, and leave bad line managers. It is the quality of day-to-day line management, which will decide whether your employees will stay and put in the extra effort needed for your organisation to emerge fighting fit as the economy recovers. Now is the time for Government to use all its efforts to help drive up the standards of good people management.”
Acas Chief Executive John Taylor said: “Line management behaviour is central to the degree people learn and develop at work, their wellbeing and resilience and ultimately their commitment and productivity. These people management skills are more critical than ever as the UK's economy emerges from recession and positions itself for the recovery.
“Good line managers are good role models in today’s modern workplace. Managers are key to flexible working practices being embedded effectively and their ability to fully engage with employees and their representatives will be key to ensuring organisational productivity in the future. Line managers increasingly play a vital role in developing and supporting learning at work and they are at the heart of effective stress, conflict and absence management.”
The CIPD and Acas are calling on the Government to allocate a greater proportion of public funding on skills specifically to the development of people management skills among SMEs, which they believe will help make the most of its wider investment in skills.
The two organisations would also like to see more government support for the effective communication and marketing to employers of the business case for developing people management skills, so that employers of all types and sizes are encouraged to invest in this key area of competence in people management.
The full “Five-a-day Management Fundamentals” are:
1) Managing work now and in the future
• Gains, develops and communicates clear objectives
- Develops action plans
- Monitors work and workloads regularly
• Sees projects/work streams through to delivery
• Looks collaboratively for ways of improving work processes
• Ensures work cover, manages rosters/workloads and discusses these with staff, deals with absence fairly
• Maintains effective working relations with senior managers
2) Managing the team
• Keeps team members informed on what is happening in the organisation
• Holds regular team meetings with time for questions, discussion and views to be expressed
• Encourages every member of the team to participate
• Allocates and delegates work evenly among the team in line with their level of responsibility and experience
• Allows the team to take some responsibility for work, work allocation and problem solving
• Solves team problems quickly and effectively if need be by taking the issue up to senior management while keeping people informed
• Takes part in the work of the team and joins in
• Mixes with the team in work and at rest times
• Protects the team from excessive work demands, knows when and how to say ‘no’
• Understands health and safety issues and the importance of well-being at work
• Helps new team members to assimilate, prepares for team members to move on inside or outside the organisation
3) Managing the individual
• Takes part and takes care in selection and induction to welcome and support the individual
• Sets challenging yet achievable job and performance expectations/targets
• Gives autonomy to let the person get on with the work
• Often reviews performance and gives regular constructive feedback
• Rewards good performance quickly from ‘thank you’, ‘well done’ to small gifts or prizes
• Takes appropriate action where there is evidence of poor/unsatisfactory performance, giving opportunities for improvement
• Takes the formal appraisal process seriously showing preparation and time allocation giving priority to development and the future
• Provides coaching and guidance on a regular basis, and is patient
• Shows concern, and takes action, when there are signs of stress, listening in confidence when help is requested or needed
• Shows interest in colleagues and their lives
4) Managing conflict and difficult situations
• Deals with possible conflicts early on, informally where possible
• Acts as a mediator if appropriate showing impartiality and listening to each side
• Talks through grievances and problems as soon as they are raised, before formal procedures are used.
• Knows when to ask for advice and help, using HR as a resource and when to pass the matter on to another manager
• Ensures the formal disciplinary and grievance procedure is used when necessary
• Seeks evidence from all sides before making a decision
• Works constructively with employee representatives
• Looks for causes behind the symptoms
- Focuses on the future
5) Managing yourself
• Understands own stress and ways of dealing with it
• Develops, as far as possible, an open relationship with the boss
• Learns from experience especially ‘near misses’
• Looks for support and advice from other line managers and provides support to them
• Keeps on top of work loads and communications
• Knows what is going on in the organisation, keeps in touch and takes part in discussions
• Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses and develops self confidence by dealing with issues
• Has a strong interest in personal development and learning.
• Believes in the values of integrity and professionalism and expects it from others
• Seeks to be a role model and a leader
• Has a sense of humour and can show ‘the human side’
The policy paper “Meeting the UK’s people management skills deficit” is available from the CIPD press office – contact 020 8612 6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Nick Smith