Welcome to the Public Works blog.

Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Kay Sillars k.sillars@unison.co.uk - For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Improving Line Management

A good line manager improves workers lives and the effectiveness of the organisation they work for.

These are the findings of the latest TUC  research into line management and the impact of good and bad practice on workers and productivity.  Line managers have a huge influence on our working lives and so are vital to any discussions about good work. So it is interesting to hear from workers about their line managers.

The report finds that line managers' strengths lie in trusting people to get on with their jobs and setting out clear expectations. Where they appear to struggle are things like helping boost workers moral, ensuring workers know their rights and actively making workers feel supported.

The report is particularly interesting when read alongside UNISON's Damage reports where workers consistently tell us that where things are good in their workplace it is about the support they get in the workplace to help cope with cuts and when morale is low poor management makes things worse.

The report is in four sections
  • why line management matters
  • workers views on line management
  • why line management isn't as good as it could be in the UK 
  • recommendations for improvement 


The report also shows the lack of diversity in management: 58% of managers are male compared to 51% of all employees. Only down 2% since the 1960s. It's not just sex: white men aged 30 to 59 make up 29% of employees but 43% of managers.

Answers to the survey indicate that a third of workers don't feel comfortable approaching their line manager about work issues and one in ten definitely wouldn't. Only about one fifth of workers think "my line manager wants what's best for me". There is also a section on the lack of training provided for line managers to develop their management skills, which perhaps explains the earlier findings.

In order to move to a more worker focused culture, which will improve workers lives and organisational performance the TUC is calling for:

Better enforcement of workers' rights
better access to training for all staff
access fro trade unions to workplaces
fair performance management procedures





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