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
    development.

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

    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
    manager.”

    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
    training.

    “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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