Future leadership: Why today's managers need to be "intentional"

Future leadership: Why today's managers need to be 'intentional'

This is sponsored content for the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand.

Just about anybody you speak to has a story about a bad manager they've had in their working lives.

They'll tell you about the effect this person's poor management style had on the morale of the office, their productivity and that of their fellow employees, and perhaps how it eventually led to them to resign from the job.

The reality in many workplaces is that some people find themselves in management "accidentally" for one reason or another - they've started the business and staff numbers have steadily grown, or they've been technically good at what they do and have been continually promoted into a position where they are now leading a team.

But just because someone is a good lawyer, accountant or sales person doesn't mean they will also be good at managing a business' all important "human capital".

The results can be disastrous for an organisation.

"It leads to what I call the chaos of the accidental manager," said David Pich, the chief executive officer of one of Australia's oldest and most respected peak bodies, the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand, and a former senior executive with a number of global companies.

"An accidental manager is someone who, because they have been technically good at their job, gets promoted to be the leader and manager.

"The problem is that in almost all cases the skills you need to be technically good at whatever job you are doing are quite often diametrically opposed to the skills you need to lead people.

"What happens for a company is that it ends up with its very valuable human capital - its people - being managed by people who may not actually be competent to manage and lead.

"And what that leads to can be a whole range of things - high levels of absenteeism, high staff turnover, dissatisfaction, mental health issues among staff and more."

Globally, increasing numbers of organisations have recognised the problem and are moving away from the idea that it's enough for managers to just have technical expertise.

There's a growing appreciation that, to be competent in the role, managers need to also excel in the so-called soft skills which include attributes such as effective communication skills, the ability to work as a team, emotional judgement, and professional ethics.

In one of its latest surveys, Deloitte Access Economics found that 75 per cent of organisations said there was a soft skill gap in their organisation.

Mr Pich said the focus comes at a time when sound management and leadership practice in businesses is coming under increasing scrutiny.

He pointed to the banking royal commission in Australia as just one example of the damage that can be done to an organisation's reputation when managers are not taking the care and diligence, and have the ethical mindset that is necessary.

To address the issue, Mr Pich said there's now a steadily growing trend by Australian organisations and individuals to take a more professional approach to ensuring those in management roles are competent in the required skills.

He said more than 1000 people had applied to become a Chartered Manager through IML Australia and New Zealand's recently introduced Chartered Manager accreditation.

The accreditation is aimed at improving management capabilities and setting a benchmark standard for Australian managers and leaders.

Operated as part of long term agreement with the Chartered Management Institute in the UK, the Australian program is the only one outside the UK that offers the Chartered Manager accreditation assessed by local assessors.

The process requires managers to reflect in detail on their management experiences and approach, and then be assessed on their competency in a wide-ranging interview. The accreditation includes a Code of Conduct that accredited Chartered Managers are required to follow.

"Our vision really is to create better managers for a better society," Mr Pich said.

"What this is doing is professionalising management and leadership competences. You can do that in management just as you can in accountancy or law or engineering.

"All of those professions have realised that if you set a standard you improve competence, and that's what this will do for management.

"We want to replace the chaos of the accidental leader with the impact of the 'intentional' leader, someone who sets out to take management and leadership, and the responsibility of that, very seriously."

This is sponsored content for the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia & New Zealand.

This story Future leadership: Why today's managers need to be 'intentional' first appeared on Newcastle Herald.