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5 key leadership management issues from 2011 to drive success in 2012

Image of success chart for 2012.What a turbulent and unpredictable year it has been in Australia and New Zealand. Upon reflection, 2011 has been a wild roller coaster ride for many, a tough road for others and a walk in the park for very few. So what can we learn from LMA’s 2011 L.E.A.D. Survey of the leadership management landscape? Here are Five Key Issues that have surfaced in 2011 and which must be addressed by leaders and managers to drive success in 2012.

In 2011, through the L.E.A.D. Survey series, we have learned a great deal that can help with leaders and managers plan for 2012. Planning is widely considered the most critical function for leaders and managers. Planning relies heavily on reflection – on looking back to identify what has worked and what hasn’t.

Yet reflection is often a very low priority in the daily lives of leaders and managers. A myriad of demands from clients, customers and staff, together with uncertain national and international economic conditions all heavily impact on the time available for reflection, and can, in turn, significantly reduce effective planning time.

Through reflection achievements, successes and progress can be highlighted. Reflection can also identify setbacks and failures to help pinpoint the best ways forward and focus our time and talents in the most effective ways in the pursuit of success.

Based on the 2011 L.E.A.D. Survey Series, here are Five Big Issues that have surfaced most prominently in relation to leadership and management in 2011. Focusing on and addressing each of these issues is essential for success in 2012:

Five Key Issues for Leaders and Managers from LMA’s 2011 L.E.A.D Survey Series

Job Satisfaction

In 2011, almost 60% of the workforce either hate their jobs or have a ho-hum attitude towards work. Leaders and managers need to ask themselves a tough question – “Am I providing the work environment that my people want to be part of?” With only a third of employees and middle managers/supervisors (37%) feeling positive about their job satisfaction, the opportunity exists to create a more satisfying experience in the workplace – a huge opportunity that leaders and senior managers must work to maximize.

Staff Turnover

A lack of job satisfaction contributes directly and substantially to staff turnover. According to the 2011 L.E.A.D. Survey, half the workforce has considered looking a job elsewhere in the last six months and around one in eight have actually applied for a new job elsewhere. Better salary/pay, better opportunities for career development/growth and a more interesting/ challenging position/role/work are the key reasons for considering working elsewhere.

Take the time to get to know and understand the motivations of your team – what makes them tick, what influences their performance, what makes them want to stay and develop with the organisation rather than move. Identify what changes are needed to attract and retain your most important asset – your people.

Skills Shortages

The reality of skill shortages hit home in 2011. Around two-thirds of leaders (57%), managers (70%) and non-managerial employees (66%) in Australasian organisations currently recognise skills shortages in their organisations. Beyond technical skill gaps and shortages (which are largely industry-specific and therefore require specific industry-based training), disturbingly, two of the top six are the areas of leadership and management.

Clearly leaders and managers need to look closely at their own skill base and ensure their skills are up to scratch. Further they must look to potential future leadership and management successors in their organisations and identify and develop talent for succession and for future growth.

Generational Disharmony

In 2011, the L.E.A.D. Survey explored generational relationships in detail and discovered a very different picture of the interactions between generations. The relationships between and with Baby Boomers were shown to be far more fractious than those with and between Gen-Y, the traditional ‘problem children’ in the workplace.

Most in the Baby Boomer generation don’t want to work with (87%) or report to (59%) their own generation. The vast majority in other generations also don’t want to work with Baby Boomers (Gen-X 96%, Gen-Y 96%) or report to them (Gen-X 94%, Gen-Y 92%) in the future.

With Baby Boomers filling the majority of leadership and senior management positions in organisations for at least another decade, the implications of a workforce unwilling and uninterested in working with and being managed by Baby Boomers are profound.

Commenting, Grant Sexton, Executive Chairman of LMA said, “Gone are the days when the challenges of fulfilling the needs of different groups can simply be dismissed as one particular generation just being difficult or demanding. Understanding the needs, expectations and motivations of a given generation could be the difference between keeping and losing some of your best people in the long run.”

Human Resources (HR) Management

2011 saw a rise in the prominence and importance of HR management – the management of human resources in organisations. An impressive 93% of leaders and senior managers now regard HR departments/professionals seriously and support them in their work in organisations (up from 80% five years ago).

Many leaders and managers have only recently discovered that HR professionals can and will assist them to deal more effectively with all aspects of the management of their people. Yet there is still greater potential for HR to play a key role in collaboration with leaders and managers in critical areas including:

  • Gathering input and feedback about employee needs and issues
  • Recognising and rewarding employee performance and productivity
  • Following-up and implementing initiatives to drive engagement

Pausing for reflection…

So with these Five Key Issues now clearly on the radar, the onus is squarely on leaders and managers to take a serious look at each issue, think deeply about the potential for the issue to impact on your organisation and develop specific plans to address each issue. Quite simply, failure to address these critical issues will have a detrimental effect on the success of your organisation in 2012.

So as you pause to reflect on these Five Key Issues, ask yourself…

  • What is my plan in each of these areas?
  • What can I personally do to address each of the issues?
  • What will have changed and be better when I reflect on these issues at end of 2012?

As the saying goes “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Through reflection on the year just past, you’ll be in better shape to plan for the future and capitalise on the possibilities that are available to you in 2012.

Here’s hoping you’ve learnt something for 2012 by reflecting on 2011.

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  1. It is interesting to note that simialr issues have been identified in South Africa excluding the Baby Boomer survey. What has been identified that makes Baby Boomers a “challenge” in the work place?

    Kevin Marlow

    • Phillipa Dobson-Brown

      Baby Boomers have emerged from an era of command and control in heiracical management systems. Gen Y and X ers do not respond well to this and prefer managers/leaders who are able to manage in a collaberative way in a flat level management system. Baby boomers also do not appreciate the X and Y difference in work values. They are more inclined to leave a job they are not satisfied with rather than tolerate it for monetary or status gains. This is based on the theories of Mark McCrindle Australian Author of the book ” The ABC of XYZ”

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