Nearly all bosses are “accidental” with no formal training

Must read

While “accidental” probably isn’t a term employers would willingly use to describe their management ranks, research has shown that nearly all of those promoted into managerial positions are all title and no training. 

The Chartered Management Institute surveyed 4,500 workers and managers in the U.K. and found that although one in four people in the workforce have management responsibilities, very few have been trained to do their jobs. 

In fact, a whopping 82% of bosses are “accidental managers” according to the CMI’s research—and a quarter of those are in senior leadership roles.

Although this isn’t a new issue, there has been a spike in staff being promoted without adequate training since the pandemic began: In 2019, the institute estimated that around 68% or some 2.4 million of the 3.4 million managers in the U.K. fell into this category.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the increase in leaders who have been promoted because they are good at the functional or technical aspects of the job but have never been trained on how to manage people is negatively impacting workers’ daily lives.

The impact of ‘accidental managers’

The bottom line is that the declining quality of management is leading workers to dislike and subsequently quit their jobs.

Overall, staff who described their manager as ineffective feel seriously less satisfied in their job (27% v 74%), valued (15% v 72%) and motivated (34% v 77%) than those who described their managers as effective. 

It’s perhaps why half of the workers surveyed who rated their manager as ineffective are planning to hand in their resignations in the next year. In comparison, less than a quarter of those who rated their managers as effective plan to quit.

What’s more, one in three of the 2,018 workers surveyed have already left a job because of bad management.

On the flip side, the impact on managers themselves of being promoted without adequate training shouldn’t be underestimated. 

According to CMI’s research, a fifth of managers aren’t confident in their own leadership abilities, with many struggling when it comes to dealing sensitively with the multiple issues facing their team members at work and in their home lives. 

As a result, a third of managers are looking to leave their jobs in the next year.

“Those with formal management training are significantly more likely to trust their team, feel comfortable leading change initiatives and to feel comfortable calling out bad behavior compared to those that don’t,” the researchers wrote.  

A Catch-22 issue

For business leaders, placing untrained managers in charge of staff can not only cause them to lose their best talent and team members via resignation, according to the CMI’s research, but can also damage thier company culture.

Less than a quarter of workers who had an ineffective manager agreed that their employer had good company culture and fewer would recommend their organization as a good place to work. 

Ultimately, as the research suggests, once bad management has taken root in a company it’s hard to shake it off. 

That’s because when untrained managers rise through the ranks, companies end up creating a Catch-22 scenario whereby managers are afraid to vocalize their fears of being inadequate to their superiors while staffers are equally afraid of confronting bad managers—the cycle, which sees staff quitting instead of speaking out, enables ineffective (and even toxic) management to fester.

Of the one in five managers who said they had wanted to raise concerns but didn’t, 41% feared they would not get enough support from their superiors, according to the research.

“In some instances, an ineffective manager can be the reason an employee hesitates to report suspected wrongdoing or bad behavior, effectively stymying a potential whistleblower from alerting senior management to a reputational or financial risk,” the researchers concluded. 

Subscribe to CHRO Daily, our newsletter focusing on helping HR executive navigate the changing needs of the workplace. Sign up for free.

More articles

Latest article