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Why do we assume that anyone can be a good manager?

It's one of the oddities of the modern career path that getting on requires becoming a manager. For many employees, this means developing a skill-set that is new and completely different from their area of expertise.

The assumption in this is that anyone who's progressing can be a manager, and that somehow we should all know exactly what to do from day one, as if it is some kind of extension of our personality.

Facebook, the social media giant, has recently questioned this. In an effort to improve the quality of its managers, it has developed a dual career track that allows employees to reach senior positions without managing people. Managers only become managers because they want to.

A spokesman for the company said, 'Managing isn't easy. Anyone who thinks it is hasn't been doing it right or has been very lucky. If you work for a great manager you are motivated and engaged but if your manager sucks it is not a good experience. The manager trumps the brand. We can do all the work we do to drive engagement but if an employee works for a bad manager they see the company through that lens.'

Research has shown that an employee's relationship with his or her front line manager can be the most important single indicator of employee engagement - influencing attitudes, behaviour, loyalty and productivity. That's why it's so important for organisations to get it right when it comes to their managers.

It's a mistake to leave managers to 'get the hang of it' on their own. Bad management can do a lot of damage to an organisation, and disrupt, demotivate and demoralise staff. Managers need support and training both to develop the necessary interpersonal skills and to understand the basic principles that are needed in a successful workplace.

Acas can provide your managers with the help and training they need, with courses on Skills for supervisors, Performance management, Having difficult conversations and many other areas of People management. Training on how to banish 'toxic workplace cultures' and improve employee engagement is listed under Staff retention.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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