Keep learning, directors told.

Senior managers have everything to gain by admitting they don’t know everything, delegates at the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development conference in Harrogate were told.

They were also told they should be open to accepting coaching from their own staff.

David Clutterbuck, chairman of the ITEM Club, and Peter Matthews, partner in charge of business development at Ernst & Young, argued that executives who admit they are still on a learning curve themselves champion healthier learning cultures.

With pressure on directors increasing – the volume of legislation affecting directors is doubling every four years – business people are turning to coaches and mentors in growing numbers, Clutterbuck and Matthews said.

‘Each of us is under greater pressure,’ said Matthews. ‘CEOs are under performance pressure, length of tenure is down, and commentary on CEOs in the business press is like the culture around football managers.’

Executives should be open to the idea of being coached or mentored by their own staff, argued Clutterbuck. ‘If executives are not prepared to learn from the organisation, there is something wrong,’ he said.

The conference also included presentations by Olympian Matthew Pinsent and creator of the balanced scorecord Robert Kaplan.

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