Employers are facing increased pressure to promote “expert employees” even though they display poor leadership qualities, according to a report published today.
The report Leading technical people, published by employee engagement and leadership development firm BlessingWhite and seen exclusively by HR magazine, revealed the retention of such experts is a particular business challenge in industries where expertise is rare and in high demand, such as petrochemical engineering and specialist law practices.
The report also found the ability of an organisation to attract technical talent in the first place is based on a reputation for being a place where technical people can thrive.
‘Best of a bad option’
However, the report revealed the majority of these technical experts “stumble” when taking on managerial roles or leadership positions.
Fraser Marlow, head of marketing and research at BlessingWhite, said: “Organisations are increasingly dependent on the passion, creativity, energy and engagement of the workforce, and in particularly on expert employees in fields such as finance, engineering, design and technology.
“However, making them [technical experts] leaders is the best of a bad option,” said Marlow.
The report found technical experts often have poor people management skills, and feel disempowered when given leadership responsibilities.
But despite this companies have no choice but to increase their reliance on technical leaders, the report said.