Poor management skills limit the potential of employees and leave the UK trailing competitors’ productivity.
FAILURE TO FOSTER the genuine staff involvement and trust necessary to adopt new working practices is causing low economic productivity in the UK and threatening the success of government programmes, according to a TUC (Trade Union Congress) report.
Performance has not improved because of low management skill levels and the failure of businesses to consult their staff.
The report says that the low quality of managers in UK businesses is the most significant barrier to the effective staff involvement required in a high performance workplace.
The TUC has called on the government to ensure that business is aware of the clear link between employee involvement and high performance workplace practices and cites the implementation of the EU Information and Consultation directive as the most likely catalyst for such change.
Significant factors arising from the report include:
- UK firms have failed to adopt high performance reforms common amongst their competitors. Productivity in foreign-owned manufacturing firms in the UK is far higher than in British-owned firms.
- UK managers are a barrier to high performance because they are low skilled, use outdated strategies and cannot trust workers with decisions, as they do not respect the people they manage.
- Most managers claim to consult staff but most employees do not feel consulted.
- More decision-making by front-line workers increases the pace of innovation, raises morale and increases the likelihood of support for workplace change.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:
“Involving staff in the business is not an unnecessary burden, or ‘red tape’. High-performance, productive workplaces need strong, responsible unions and managers who are skilled and trusted enough to communicate with staff individually and collectively.”
This raises productivity because employees are free to make decisions about their work and provide vital feedback on the business to management. Management in turn is freed from a ‘command and control’ supervisory role to a strategic, leadership role.
So, check our top 10 tips below to see if you can improve your communication and trust with your staff:
- Treat people as individuals: listen to them, get to know them better and remain and aware of their concerns as well as their ideas.
- Set objectives that have clear outcomes and keep careful records if you have any concerns about the individual’s ability to manage flexible working effectively.
- If they fail to deliver, then you are justified in refusing another request until they demonstrate their abilities.
- It’s OK to say ‘no’ to flexible working sometimes, for example, if there are issues around performance or there is a genuinely negative impact on operational needs.
- Put your trust in people: be as open as possible and practical and be prepared to take risks occasionally.
- Deal with individual concerns and disciplinary issues promptly — the whole of your team will respect you for this.
- Make sure that your communications are effective and hold regular team meetings.
- Treat people as you would want to treated; think back to your own experiences — both positive and negative — of managers that have supervised you in the past.Take note of their successes and try to avoid the pitfalls that they fell into.
- Keep people fresh and motivated by promoting training and development opportunities and goals.
Cheers, Peter Hall.
Adapted from the New Business Magazine.