Better leadership skill training antidotes to austerity

Better leadership skill training – key to combating recession

There is growing evidence that better leadership skill training is needed and needed urgently. Evidence from a Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) report suggests that up to 75% of UK companies report a leadership skills deficit. We have developed a series of workshops called “Antidotes to Austerity”, to work with SME’s and large firms responding to the recession. The workshops build on current BIS policy in response to the recession. In particular, the idea for a response to austerity brings the findings from three BIS reports together.

They highlight 3 important factors:

  • It’s compelling – There is a compelling need for leadership and management development
  • There’s a clear way forward – There are strategies organisation can adapt to combat the recession
  • It’s timely – There is a growing sense that switching toward growth is a timely response.

Fighting Austerity with Leadership Skill Training

 Firstly there is a recognised deficit in leadership and management development both in large and small firms[1] and the deficit has an important impact on growth.[2]

There is a compelling argument to fight austerity with better leadership skill training.

The need is evident:

  • Only a third of SME’s in the UK reported providing managers with some management and leadership training. The figure is no better across all organisations, with only 34% of all employers providing management training.
  • Good management practices impact on performance
  • Ineffective management is estimated to be costing UK businesses over £19billion per year in lost working hours.
  • Nearly three quarters of organisations in England reported a deficit of management and leadership skills in 2012. This deficit is contributing to our productivity gap with countries like the US, Germany and Japan.

Secondly, there are growth strategies relevant to responding to a recession.[3]

Potential leadership skill training solutions are available. There are good leadership and management practices which are not widely adopted. There are also a range of recession-beating strategies that organisation can adapt.

  • Some changes are wholly within the power and remit of leaders and managers to make them happen. What’s more they cost little or nothing and despite offering a competitive advantage don’t have a patent or copyright protection preventing their use. Too good to be true – or just uncommon common sense?
  • There are strategies to tackle a recession, although one answer certainly does not fit all there are a range of possibilities for organisations to assess and adapt to their context.

 Thirdly and crucially there is an identified willingness and ambition within SME’s to grow out of the recession.[4]

  • A focus on antidotes to Austerity is timely.
  • There is a willingness particularly amongst the resilient SME sector to find ways to grow out of a recession. More and more SME’s are reporting an ambition to grow out of the recession.
It is however not sufficient for leadership skill training to take place, it must focus on dealing with the reality of the situation every organisation faces. That is why Antidotes to Austerity focuses on leadership skill training to combat the recession.

[1] Small Business Survey, BIS (2010)

[2] Leadership and management in the UK – the key to sustainable growth BIS (2012)

[3] Business strategies and performance during difficult economic conditions Kitching, J. Blackburn, R. Dixon, S. BIS (2009)

[4] Business growth, access to finance, and performance outcomes in the recession Cowling, M. Liu, W BIS (2011)

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