Nine in ten HR professionals say managers don't lead | EEF

Nine in ten HR professionals say that managers don't lead as part of their role

Subscribe to About EEF media release feeds


HR professionals could be in danger of underestimating and underutilising the leadership potential of managers, according to a new management effectiveness gap analysis run by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation. 

Almost nine in ten HR professionals (88%) say that their firm’s managers are good in functional, day-to-day work, but don’t lead as part of their role. Little over one in ten (12%) say that there is strong leadership at every level of the organisation, with managers creating a sense of purpose and direction for their team.

The gap analysis - completed by almost 200 HR and training professionals from a range of different business types and sectors – shows that under half (48%) see managers as good role models, while only three in ten (31%) are confident that managers are able to spot when something such as a task or process needs to be changed.

However, much of this could be down to a lack of training and support. Just 18% say that new managers receive training on implementing HR and employment policies and procedures, while only 19% say that they receive leadership and management training.

Four in ten HR professionals (42%) say their company identifies leadership and management potential through line managers’ recommendations, while 35% say they are identified through the performance or appraisal review system. But at the same time, they express concerns over how well and how consistently managers use these systems.

Three in ten (29%) say that most managers complete an annual appraisal, but follow up is limited. Over a quarter (27%) say that managers provide some feedback, but are reluctant to tackle poor performance, while 37% say that there is some good practice but it is inconsistent. Less than one in ten (7%) say that performance and development objectives are agreed at appraisal and drive day-to-day performance management.

Judith Hogg, Director of Training and Head of Learning and Development at EEF, says: “Great management and leadership skills are key to unlocking greater productivity, something that the UK typically lags behind on. At the same time, many of the problems that companies have to contend with stem from poor leadership.

“Effective leaders provide clarity, direction and a sense of ownership. But this requires managers to take a step up from fulfilling a functional role - something that many aren’t being fully equipped to do. Training and coaching are key in providing them with the confidence, knowledge and tools to lead effectively. Developing managers’ competencies and behaviours can pay dividends in driving an organisation’s vision, mission and values.”

Companies can use EEF’s free gap analysis tool to assess their own management effectiveness: This will help them to identify potential skills gaps and will share ideas on how best to manage performance and retain talent. It will also provide pointers on how to plan effectively for change.

For further information on the range of leadership and management training and courses EEF offers, visit here: or call 0808 168 5874.


Media Team 020 7654 1576

Other articles from this author >
training Discover management and leadership training courses

Explore our leadership and management solutions and nationally accredited ILM and CMI training programmes.

Read more >
Online payments are not supported by your browser. Please choose an alternative browser or make payments through the 'Other payment options' on step 3.