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Is the UK’s low productivity your fault?


Blog author: Nina Murray, Associate Tutor & Assessor, Inspired2learn

Are you an accidental manager?

Are you one of the managers stifling UK productivity?

Is your inadequate knowledge and underdeveloped skills behind the economy's slow growth?

CMI has been warning of the danger of accidental managers for years, and its research has estimated that as many as four out of five managers are accidental managers – that’s equivalent to 2.4 million bosses without adequate training not performing to their best.”

and here you can see just a few headlines hitting the UK in the past few years:

"How Accidental Managers Are Draining Productivity"

“Rise of the accidental manager lies behind UK’s low productivity”  

"The curse of the accidental manager"  

"CMI: We must eliminate the 'Accidental Manager'”

Are you one of the managers mentioned in those headlines??

Considering the CMI's research “as many as four out of five managers are accidental managers” you most likely are, but personally I’m not sure how much I agree with the term ‘accidental manager’.

Ultimately none of us (yes, I ended up in management by accident too) have just fallen out of the sky or accidentally being given a managerial role when applying for something completely different.

Yes, I agree that a very high % of people didn’t plan their career to take them to a managerial or leadership role, but how many people in the world end up in the careers they dreamed of when they were younger?

Not many, according to Office for National Statistics “Whatever those aspirations were, Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis has revealed a sizeable difference between those earlier dreams and reality.”

How many of us really know what they want their career to be when they are leaving school or deciding on university course?

The truth is that at the stage of our lives when we are asked to choose a career route, we are teenagers who have no idea (or have a pretty vague idea) who and what we want to be or do. And most of us end up in careers built on the early experiences we have in the workplace and within roles we ‘fall into’, and that’s exactly how we become the infamous ‘accidental managers’.

My challenge with the term ‘accidental manager’ is that it implies that we fell into the roles by accident and I simply don’t believe it. Dig behind most of the ‘accidental managers’’ career stories and you will find a journey of hard work, passion and excellent skills, which is exactly what led them to getting managerial opportunity.

What’s the problem then, you might be thinking?

Based on my years of business experience, the problem is not with how people get into managerial roles, but what happens straight after.

Most people will get promoted to managerial roles because they have excelled in their previous role (e.g., they could have been an excellent sales or finance person etc.) so they have plenty of brilliant skills, just not the skills required to be an excellent leader and manager. And here is where the pinch point is for me, as there are a couple of options for their career:

  • To learn from experience. To do the deep dive, stumble, make plenty of mistakes and slowly develop as you go along


  • To learn from experience alongside professional education that will not only save you plenty of mistakes, but will also give you the confidence you need in your managerial and leadership role

All too often businesses don’t provide enough support and development for their new managers, but that’s just part of the challenge as ultimately each and every one of us is responsible for our own career and development journey.  

It really it is down to us to decide if, when promoted to a managerial position, we will stay being ‘accidental manager’ for years or help this ‘accidental’ promotion and develop ourselves into true excellent manager and leader.

Ultimately, as the route you choose will shape your managerial and leadership competency, effectiveness and style (and future career opportunities) the choice is always yours.

Back in 2009, at my ‘pinch point’ moment, I chose option 2 and never looked back since.

What do you want your managerial and leadership career to be?

Are you happy being an ‘accidental manager’ or do you want to become a manager who leads with confidence, pride and effectiveness?

If option 2 is something you would like to consider too, why not check out the different levels of CMI Management & Leadership qualifications (all available as an Award, Certificate or Diploma) and decide which one will be most suitable for your career and future:

Level 3 - For First Line/Supervisory/Team Leading

Level 5 - For Middle/Operational Management

Level 6 - For Senior/Regional/Specialist Management

Level 7 - For Senior/Strategic Management

Chartered Manager - The highest status in the management profession (available via the full assessment of fast-track routes) 

Happy learning, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout on +44 (0) 1380 609313 or enquiries@inspired2learn.co.uk.



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