Business leaders and government are today urged to take a stand against poor people management, which is too often the cause of bullying, conflict and stress in the workplace and a significant factor in the UK’s productivity gap.

The call comes as CIPD and Acas publish joint guidance on how to be a better boss, and urge government to help address the UK’s people management skills deficit.

CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme and Acas Chief Executive John Taylor are launching 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 UK plc.

The ‘five-a-day’ management fundamentals developed from CIPD and Acas research and practical experience of management development are grouped under the following headings:

· 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 are also publishing 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.

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