New effort to boost middle manager skills is under way

W ith so much of senior managers’ time taken up with meetings
about strategy, the role of managing day to day tasks and the
people that do them is increasingly falling to middle managers. So
it should be of concern that it is often those middle managers that
receive the least support and training to develop their skills.

For this reason a new faculty to support middle managers in
continuing their development in the public sector has been set up
by the Employers Organisation for local government and the
Institute for Leadership and Management.

It will provide members with a quarterly magazine, an online
resource centre and guidance on continued personal and professional

Rob Pinkham, executive director of the EO, said middle managers
were often seen as the “forgotten practitioners” in management

The problem is that employees often climb the first rung of the
management ladder without receiving sufficient training.

“People should have training before they are promoted and not
six months after – you could do a lot of damage in that time,” said
Angela Baron, adviser to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development. “One of the crucial factors in whether an employee
thrives in their job is their relationship with their line

Despite the importance of being able to manage people, Baron
said that this is not often reflected in the time given to middle
managers’ training. “Yet they are increasingly delivering human
resources policies and practices,” she said. Smaller organisations,
particularly those in the voluntary sector, ignored training in
“softer skills”, believing it to be overly expensive, she added.
“But it doesn’t have to be – people can be supported through
coaching or mentoring.”

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations’
Nick Aldridge, said the voluntary sector struggled because it spent
only a third of what the public and private sectors spent on

“If an organisation is bidding to run a service for a council
the emphasis is still on reducing costs. It is hard to make the
case for building training costs into the bid, but if you don’t
train staff properly you get low quality services,” he added.

To help remedy this the association has developed a diploma with
the Institute of Directors which will give voluntary sector middle
managers a qualification recognised in the business world.


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