Managing people

DDI Global Survey – Australian Leaders Lag Behind Global Counterparts: Leadership

Australian business leaders lag behind global counterparts: Report

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 03 May 2012

A new report reveals more than 40% of Australian workers never consider their leader to be effective, compared to 34% of global respondents, suggesting Australian leaders are lagging.


The report, Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter, comes from talent management company DDI, and includes data from an online survey undertaken by Harris Interactive.


More than 1,250 full-time employees in non-management roles were surveyed, from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, India, Germany and South East Asia.


According to the survey, 34% of global respondents say they only sometimes or never consider their leaders to be effective, compared to 41% of Australian respondents.


The survey also shows 38% of Australian respondents say their bosses only sometimes or never listen to their workplace concerns, compared to 35% of global respondents.


Encouragingly, favouritism seems less prevalent in Australia, with only 24% of Australian bosses singling out certain employees as “favourites”, compared to a third of bosses globally.


However, Australian managers lag behind their global counterparts in other areas.


For example, only 42% of Australian respondents say their manager asks for their help in solving problems “most of the time or always”, compared to more than half of global respondents.


Meanwhile, more than 50% of Australian bosses say their boss only sometimes or never gives sufficient feedback on their performance, compared to 45% of global respondents.


Almost 40% of Australian respondents say they have left a job primarily because of their manager or leaders, while 57% say they have considered leaving a job because of their leader.


Alarmingly, only 40% of total respondents say their boss never damages their self-esteem, while 60% say they do sometimes, most of the time or always.


Bruce Watt, managing director of DDI Australia, says the findings should be of “enormous concern” to any business because they show leaders are failing in their obligation to employees.


“The consequences of managers and bosses with poor leadership skills are enormous, and the impact good leaders have in terms of employee motivation… [is] significant,” Watt says.


The survey found almost half (45%) of respondents think they could be more effective than their manager, but only 46% would actually want to.


Respondents cite the additional stress, responsibility and pressure as reasons for staying where they are.


Comparing the results from people with the best and worst managers, those reporting they felt motivated to give their best leapt from 11% to 98%.


Those reporting that their manager does a good job helping them be more productive went from 5% to 94%.


“Workers report that managers fail to ask for their ideas and input, are poor at work-related conversations and do not provide sufficient feedback on their performance,” Watt says.


“It’s no wonder employee engagement levels are low. Leaders remain stubbornly poor at these fundamental basics of good leadership.”


“It’s important that organisations equip the people managing their workforce with these basic leadership essentials, and that managers are aware of their own blind spots in these areas.”


“The good news for businesses and employees alike is that many of these leadership skills can be learnt.”

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