UK plc lacks visionary leaders

A new survey by recruitment specialists Executive Online has found that while most senior executives believe UK managers have the necessary financial and IT knowledge, a large number believe they are lacking in leadership, strategy and vision, identified key skills needed in management today.

More than a third of the 137 respondents included in the study by management recruitment company Executive Online said that ‘leadership’ was the skill missing in British management. A quarter said managers lacked vision while one-in-eight said they did not know how to plan strategically.

The reason for this, according to the survey, is that young inexperienced managers were rising more quickly through the ranks to replace older, more experienced managers.

Norrie Johnston, managing director at Executive Online, said he was not surprised by the results of the survey as his company was called upon ‘time and time again’ to provide a ‘raft of short-term management talent’.

He said organisations were looking for ‘these leadership qualities together with really practical hands-on skills.

‘Our contacts tell us this is the combination that is really hard to find,’ he added.

The management specialists said that often companies looked internally when undergoing major changes such as merging or making an acquisition or when there is a sudden staff departure, but found that while some managers ‘had some very good skills, very few fully fit the bill’.

Describing these young managers, Johnston said: ‘They are very IT and marketing aware, but leadership and vision skills often come with experience, some of these young managers just don’t have the opportunity to develop them.’


Executives Online

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