Better managers make us all more productive

21 Feb 2019 By Lauren Rebecca Brown

A study of more than 100,000 managers found leadership directly influences national productivity

Even if a country has high levels of enrolment in tertiary education, a low unemployment rate and a long life expectancy, its productivity is still substantially influenced by leadership ability, research has found. 

Presenting his findings at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society (BPS), Alan Howard revealed leadership skills and management skills directly influenced national productivity, even when all other measures of investment in human capital had been taken into account.

Howard and Max Choi, a chartered member of the BPS, examined data from a study involving more than 117,000 leaders and managers from 32 countries across a wide range of sectors.

The researchers employed two tests of judgement to obtain average scores for leadership and management skills for each country: a senior leadership level test and a management-level test. They also used a range of measures of the 32 countries’ investment in human capital. 

Howard said: “Our findings suggest that it is worth investing in the selection and development of leaders in order to improve organisational and national productivity.”

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