Survey findings: Only 20% sufficiently confident in people management

A survey of over 670 managers reveals that less than 20% felt sufficiently confident in team management when they were appointed into their first managerial role.

Acknowledging that managers are often promoted into people management because of their technical/ specialist skills, qualifications and experience, the survey asked managers how equipped they were to manage people effectively when they were first appointed into the role.

Formal training in people management is lacking

The top five challenges experienced by managers when they were first appointed:

  • I was scared to let go and delegate tasks                                                            40%
  • I was unsure of the expectations of me                                                                38%
  • I lacked confidence in people management                                                        37%
  • I felt I had the full support of my line manager when taking over the team 34%
  • I struggled with managing my time                                                                        33%

The full results of this question show that, although over a third felt that they had the support of their line manager when taking over the team, new managers were largely not equipped with the skills they need for effective team management. The findings (in the bar chart below) show that managers lacked confidence and key leadership skills.

Struggling with time management, fear of delegation and being unsure how to motivate a team are often felt by experienced employees when stepping up into a managerial role. It is also a time when the realisation dawns that their communication skills needed enhancing to enable them to engage effectively with their line reports and to manage upwards – 38% of managers were unsure what is expected of them. Senior managers appear to be making assumptions as to how capable its first-time managers are to fulfil the role and the managers themselves possibly lack the confidence to ask questions and clarify their objectives and goals in this respect.

Reflecting on the findings, Jon Dean, Managing Director of Impellus commented: ‘The results of this survey highlight that senior management do not realise the challenges that first-time managers typically face when they are appointed. They underestimate how ill-equipped the managers feel to make the transition from being a highly qualified employee to an inspiring, productive manager.'


Research Methodology:
The research was carried out by Impellus Ltd in October and November 2017. Managers attending Impellus leadership and management training courses across the UK during October and November 2017 were invited to participate in the survey. A total of 674 managers took part. Respondents came from a variety of industry organisations in the private, public and charitable sectors.