A report found that while 70 per cent of managers held a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree, 74 per cent stated they wanted to be skilled, trained, and prepped for the role they have right now. The critical areas for training are conflict resolution, time management, and communication upwards.
'The Grand Manager and Workplace Report' released by upGrad-led Harappa focused on the aspirations, burdens, and challenges faced by managers in India. Over 3,800 people, including 2,280 early managers and 1,370 seasoned managers in India, participated in the study. Around 250 individual participants, 250 HR professionals, and 500 senior leaders were also surveyed. The report also interviewed 15 to 18 per cent of each survey base.
"I see this as a clarion call, urging corporates to prioritise their workforce over business metrics. There’s a reskilling revolution upon us and unless companies value the importance of L&D and adapt to a non-linear mindset, building a resilient business looks uncertain. Companies don't need to go out and augment people and train; they'd rather need to retain existing talent and prepare a 'superforce' that understands modern-day work intricacies and drives business impact,” said Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder & Chairperson, upGrad.
Challenges in the workplace
The study also highlighted 73 per cent of managers feel as if their careers are in stagnation, 71 per cent do not feel recognised for their contribution and 68 per cent cited workload as the most trouble they face in their current roles.
A significant number of managers are dissatisfied and actively seeking to leave their current positions, with approximately 33 per cent planning to do so within six months and 59 per cent within the year.
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Eighty-one per cent of managers looked at monetary incentives as a key to staying motivated. Just a bit more than half, at 57 per cent, also seek autonomy to make decisions at the workplace and 52 per cent would like public recognition for the work they do.
Early-stage managers vs seasoned managers
The report was an eye-opener showing the differences and similarities between early-stage and seasoned managers. Early-stage managers reported more challenges than their counterparts.
86 per cent early-stage managers stated that the biggest challenge was earning the trust of their reportees, 72 per cent felt powerless about outcomes, and 57 per cent reported managing quality output as a challenge. 49 per cent felt increased burnout and 43 per cent had difficulty navigating diverse workstyles.
Seasoned managers, on the other hand, reported feeling powerless to outcomes as the greatest challenge (66 per cent), followed by increased burnout at 52 per cent, navigating diverse workplaces (51 per cent), earning reportee's trust (44 per cent) and only 39 per cent felt managing quality output was a challenge.
The study also shed light on the contradiction between traits valued by managers compared to how they viewed the same trait in themselves. 74 per cent managers valued composure, however, only 41 per cent felt confident in their own composure. The contradiction was also evident in traits such as transparency (62:23 ratio), fairness (55:35), openness to feedback (48:28), and humility (47:42).
In nearly all categories, managers were not confident in the traits that they valued in others.
“I’ve personally felt we do a great injustice to managers and teams when we don’t extend an empathetic ear to truly understand why the manager has become the biggest villain of the modern workplace,” said Shreyasi Singh, Founder & CEO, Harappa. Adding that being a manager was a difficult job and were often disregarded.
What do companies want from their managers?
The Harappa study also noted that company leaders seemed to be in disagreement about what they wanted from their managers.
Eighty-two per cent of senior leaders felt long-term thinking was the most important attribute in a manager. Senior leaders ranked other attributes very low such as adaptability & innovation (35 per cent), and approachability (28 per cent).
HR professionals on the other hand felt approachability was the most important attribute in a manager (90 per cent) followed by adaptability & innovation (51 per cent). Only 12 per cent considered long-term thinking as a valuable trait.
More alarmingly, around 50 per cent HR professionals felt that managers had met their potential. Only 30 per cent (approximately) senior leaders believed managers had met the potential they first saw.