Those blunt words were how the CIPD announced the findings of its HR Outlook: Winter 2016-17 survey. While organisations voted performance management and people management the two most important behaviours and skills for organisations over the next three years, senior leaders’ current performance in these areas were considered ineffective by 53% of respondents for the former, and 44% for the latter.
We can only agree with one of the comments of Dr Jill Miller, CIPD Research Adviser: a business really is its people. Senior leadership may call the tune, but the workforce are the band that actually play it. They are the people that deliver its vision, mission and strategy, that live its customer relationships and provide the productivity that generates success.
We have always argued the importance of the ‘people’ aspect of business. If leadership is meaningless without the capacity to engage and inspire others, management without a focus on communication, understanding and an ability to motivate is no better. A manager’s team is not a task to tackle, but the means to accomplish aims and objectives. As we say in describing our Management Development programmes:
We specialise in the people skills that enable managers to understand human behaviour, communicate, and motivate people. We succeed where others fail because we understand that learning is easy but – without sustained support from others – changing behaviour is tough.
Any workforce still needs skilful, thoughtful and inspiring management, and those responsible for providing it need to be invested in to enable this to happen. Managers’ role in developing the next generation of the workforce today is essential to tomorrow’s health and prosperity.