Too many British companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are underperforming.

This fact prompted a study on the causes and effects by the Economist newspaper last month. Part of the reason for this, it concluded, is that too many UK companies suffer from the “chronic British disease of poor management”.

Sadly, this is not the only study to reach similar conclusions about the way the UK approaches management and leadership skills.

The UK’s productivity has been low for most of living memory now. British leaders of multi-national organisations are scarcer than they should be, and despite taking early leads in many industries over the years – from automotive to technology – the UK consistently fails to capitalise on them commercially.

These are classic management and leadership failings.

HR managers from foreign-owned businesses based here will frequently tell you that the British treat management and leadership as though it’s a capability you’re either born with or not, rather than something you can become highly skilled to do well – often quite unlike the culture in their home lands.

Googling the ‘effects of bad management’ turns up the following in just a few minutes and a small number of clicks:

  • Increased staff stress levels
  • Low staff engagement
  • Poor productivity
  • Staff leaving / higher staff turnover
  • Poor customer experience
  • Staff not pulling their weight
  • Low innovation at all levels
  • Strategies not becoming reality
  • Loss of future talent
  • Culture of excuses
  • Inability to grow / hitting glass ceilings
  • Lack of opportunity
  • Underinvestment
  • Bad results


Flip it round

What we can conclude then is that when we see any of these things happening there’s a failure of management or leadership happening somewhere. It’s easier to see this when the manager isn’t us, of course, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

Whilst there are always factors that can create problems in the short term, the job of leaders and managers is precisely to ensure those are blips not trends and create paths that avoid those. (See point about culture of excuses before challenging this).

That’s what good leaders do and why focusing relentlessly on quality management and leadership development is key to almost any success.

Ultimately without a strong management and leadership team, just what is a team, organisation or stock market investment actually worth?


Written by Jon Dean – Managing Director


Impellus is a UK-wide provider of management, leadership and core commercial skills training. See our relevant courses:

Management & Leadership Skills

ILM Courses in Leadership & Management

Commercial & Professional Skills Training