Lack of management skills? What these teenagers have made their lives?

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Let’s face it, degrees are so common these days that they aren’t the differentiator they once were. Yes, they can convey some level of academic achievement, but they don’t prepare people for work.

Likewise the MBA. Once considered the pinnacle of business qualification for the ambitious ambitious already in office, it exemplifies a qualification that no longer matters. Like the university degree, it is a lost currency in a crowded market.

Qualifications are only a crude management tool applied to recruitment. Like many investments in education and training, it seems like the right thing to do even without understanding its true purpose. This state of the art of education renders some of the findings of the Chartered Management Institute “21st CENTURY LEADERS “Report all the more alarming.

Of over 1,000 organizations surveyed, it found that 70% of managers want leadership and business modules built into every course, 66% of employers want graduates to gain professional qualifications in addition to their main degree and 62% of managers expect graduates to demonstrate management skills.

Since the introduction of the league tables in schools and universities, our educational model is evaluated on the academic level of the students rather than on their ability to solve problems and analyze critically.

At a time when 15% of workers are overqualified for their jobs and there are fewer degree positions than there are degree students, it seems ridiculous that employers are demanding even more qualifications.

Since the introduction of the league tables in schools and universities, our educational model is evaluated on the academic level of the students rather than on their ability to solve problems and analyze critically. When a system encourages conformity of thought rather than diversity, demanding more qualifications is not the answer.

All companies want to hire the best talent for their organization, but young people cannot be expected to lead and be ready to work from day one. Certainly not when we are informed that these same skills are already lacking in existing leadership ranks.

Textbooks, lecturers with limited knowledge of what leadership currently looks and feels like, an MBA program that focuses on strategy, funding, and an attempt to extrapolate valuable learning from case studies companies bear no resemblance to the companies in which young people find themselves.

Young people can learn about leadership, but they must do so to understand its complexities and uncertainties. We need enthusiastic and capable people who enter the world of work with practical experience of how it works.

This can be achieved by companies offering internships and internships. From these early experiences, young people can begin to understand the challenges of leadership as seen from their role as followers.

It is ironic only with as many managers demanding pre-prepared young talents, so few be ready to invest to offer opportunities to help do this a reality. The CMI survey also confirmed that less than 30% of companies offered internships.

Line managers do not support interns and placements, believing that they have higher priorities. Therefore, experiential learning and benefits for both parties are limited. Our own research confirms that line managers are equally poor at prioritizing the development of the people they lead.

We should also focus on school leavers. They are just as likely to have the effort and innate skills to thrive in the working world as anyone else.

This not only leads to disengagement, but also seriously compromises the company’s future ability to compete.

A government white paper suggests Britain would be £300billion richer without a single extra hour worked if the quality of management were better. We are successful in creating new jobs, but we are not investing in existing employees. While we are struggling to keep pace with the productivity levels of our EU counterparts, the quality of leadership requires particular attention.

We should also focus on school leavers. Those people who haven’t excelled in academia or don’t have the financial security to go there or don’t see any value in getting a speculative degree. They are just as likely to have the effort and innate skills to thrive in the working world as anyone else.

There is no indication that their skills in innovation, trade or human relations are lower than those of their graduate counterparts.

So rather than asking for additional qualifications, why not welcome all young people with open arms and concerned about their development? Let’s provide them with a level of experiential training where skill development happens alongside their day-to-day work and where their leader is actively engaged in their progress and development.

Let’s create an environment where people can learn, connect learning to their workplace, and then convert learning into practice.

There is an urgent need to offer young talents entering the world of work the possibility of developing their potential while offering equal opportunities to those who are already working. No action will lead to a skills shortage and, even worse, a disengaged workforce.

While schools and universities can do much to prepare young people for the world of work, the responsibility for mentoring and developing talent lies with those charged with leadership.

It is these trusted leaders who will make the real difference in the productivity of 21st organizations of the century. So we better start highlighting who these people are and what coaching leadership skills they need to help us compete.

About the Author

David Cartwright is the founder of OBD Academy, which offers leadership development supported by coaches.

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