Young execs come of age

THE ANNOUNCEMENT of the loss of 1,100 jobs at Barclaycard - coming after several other less dramatic cutbacks - demonstrates that, after a brief hiccup, "downsizing" is back.

Though other euphemisms for reducing headcount will no doubt turn up in the months ahead, it is clear that many organisations will be ditching their "most valuable assets" in response to tougher trading conditions. The result will be a yawning gap where experienced middle managers used to be. But expecting young managers to fill it will be a mistake, says Foundation, a leading management development organisation.

Since the desire to cut costs is behind job losses, it is appealing for organisations to appoint managers who are less well paid and more energetic than their older counterparts. However, says Don Campbell, chief executive of Foundation, younger managers might have the right technical skills but they generally lack, through no fault of their own, the people and leadership skills to acquit themselves well.

"Younger employees are being appointed to managerial positions because, for example, they are IT whiz-kids. It's got nothing to do with how well equipped they are to lead people. Not only do they suffer from lack of experience when dealing with knotty people-management issues, but they have problems gaining the respect of older, often more experienced people whom they are expected to lead."

Foundation has responded by introducing the "Gateway Course" to its portfolio of leadership training programmes. The new course is designed to equip these first-time leaders with the skills and abilities to command respect, get the most from those they are managing and deal with the complex issues that they will have to confront.

The move comes as Korn/ Ferry International, the executive search consultancy, has published a guide to helping organisations identify their best new leaders. A questionnaire is contained in Executive Insights - based on an examination of the leadership issues for the 21st century conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a consultancy.

Twenty questions cover such areas as leadership ability, communication skills, building and empowering teams, motivating people and ensuring results, negotiating agreement and handling conflict. In an effort to gain insights into candidates' readiness for the positions, each heading has subsidiary questions.

In the case of leadership ability, some questions are: "What are some examples of changes that you instigated in your organisation?" and "What did you learn personally as a result of making the changes?". In the case of motivating people and ensuring results: "Having established your objectives, what motivational techniques will you use to ensure that they are met?" and "How will you measure your progress in reaching your objectives?".

CVs do not always revealwhether candidates have the right attributes for a job. Korn/ Ferry says that asking the right questions is the best way to identify the right executive.

But it warns: "Since truly important questions tend not to have simple answers, you'll need to use your judgement in interpreting and evaluating each candidate's response. However, do keep in mind the organisational context and overall circumstances that have moulded the interviewee's experience and perspective."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent