Impellus Research: over 80% of Managers believe a lack of Leadership Skills is a factor in holding back their organisation

Training organisers see leadership situation in rosier light than managers

Industry research conducted by Impellus reveals that training organisers1 perceive leadership and management skills within their organisations in a rosier light than the managers2 themselves.  The survey was conducted at the end of 2016 to understand learning and development challenges for the year ahead. Impellus regularly undertakes research into leadership and management matters within the UK and received over 500 responses in this study.

Perception of deficiency in leadership and management skills

Over 60% of training organisers believe that a lack of leadership and management skills is a factor in holding back their organisation from achieving growth/objectives/competitiveness. When managers responded to the same question the percentage rose to over 80%.

Thirty-six per cent of mangers felt that the deficiency is definitely holding back their organisations with 45% believing that the deficiency may be due to a lack of leadership skills but that there are other factors holding them back more. The picture for those organising training is more optimistic with 26% feeling that the deficiency in skills is definitely preventing their organisation from moving forward and 37% feeling that it may be but that there are other factors holding them back more.

Ability of management team to cope over next few years

In response to a separate question, interestingly 77% of training organisers (compared with 74% of managers) believe that their organisation’s management team has the right skills to cope with changes that are likely to occur over the next couple of years. However, 17% of delegates expressed the belief that their team does not or definitely does not have the skills to cope compared with 12% of training organisers.

Managers seek greater investment in training

When comparing challenging economic times with periods of prosperity, a quarter of training organisers think that investment by their organisation in leadership and management training is more important in challenging times as opposed to almost one third of delegates.

More findings around these questions plus training organisers’ plans and priorities for 2017 training, as well as preferred training formats, and the popularity of mentoring and succession planning schemes in respondent organisations can be viewed in the full survey report.

Download it here.

Jon Dean, Managing Director of Impellus Ltd commented:

I’m sure that business leaders would agree that differences of opinion among employees are healthy. We would not necessarily expect training organisers to agree completely with delegates, but there are some interesting comparisons here.


When we consider the responses of these three questions alongside each other they point to an overall belief by respondents in their management teams to cope over the next few years but that the leadership and management skills to enable them to grow and move forward are considerably lacking. Managers are saying that they require help to develop their skills and that the need for training is very important.  Put against the backdrop of a UK economy that is under-performing in terms of productivity and experiencing nervousness around the implications of Brexit, the results reinforce the significant return on investment to be achieved from leadership and management training, particularly in terms of growth and efficiency.

Research Methodology:

The research was carried out by Impellus Ltd in November and December 2016 across two surveys, which generated a total of 515 respondents.
1Online survey – In November 2016 152 Impellus clients completed an online survey consisting of 11 questions. The respondents have responsibility for booking training within their organisation, but they do not attend the training courses themselves.

2Delegate survey – Managers attending Impellus leadership and management training courses during November and December 2016 were invited to answer three questions (the same three questions were included in the online survey to enable a comparison of results). A total of 363 managers took part in this survey.

The full report with graphs on the survey findings and more details on the research methodology can be downloaded from the Impellus website by clicking on this link or go to: https://impellus.com/leadership-and-management-2016-survey-report-pdf/