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Annie Hayes



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Experience is rated over natural ability


A Chartered Management Institute (CMI) report reveals that for the first time since the start of the survey in 1996, job experience is rated more highly than natural ability when it comes to performing well at work.

The CMI claim that the belief that “leaders are born, not made” has been eclipsed. Research based on interviews with 1000 managers which looked at the changing patterns of Management and Leadership Development (MLD) over an eight year period, shows that line managers are now focusing on job-related development including in-house MLD and job-specific qualifications.

The report also shows that the skills most sought after are managing people, leadership and meeting customer needs. Looking forward managers are looking to develop skills including the management of change and risk and the ability to facilitate organisational learning.

Further findings include:

  • improved business performance when development is linked to business strategy

  • a significant shift in the priority given to management development by employers

  • a change in attitude towards what makes a good manager and how development should be delivered

  • trends amongst organisations towards active talent management and fast-tracking high potential managers

Seven out of ten respondents agreed that MLD developed managers to meet business needs. In further evidence that managers are recognising the impact MLD has on their organisations, respondents suggested that when MLD is linked to specific skills that address business needs, organisational productivity climbs.

The CMI say that the findings indicate that many employers are now taking more responsibility at a senior level for employee development.

In 2004, 51% of CEOs or Boards were directly responsible for initiating MLD policy, compared to 43% in 1996.

Senior involvement in implementation remains high at 24%, an increase from 15% in 1996.

Almost half (45%) allocate a specific budget for management training while 49% claim their business has a written policy in place on management development. This compares to just 37% who said the same in 2000.

Around 90% of organisations claim to have regular appraisals to establish training requirements and more than half (57%) admit to ‘talent management’ by selecting high potential managers for intensive development.

Mary Chapman, Chief Executive of the CMI commented: “Learning and development has often been conducted with the implicit belief that it is beneficial. However, this research project provides positive evidence of the value of management development and shows that organisations which base MLD on strategic business needs clearly benefit from performance improvements.”

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Annie Hayes


Read more from Annie Hayes