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First time managers set up to fail



HR | Leadership Advice | Management | News

By Stephanie Zillman

A staggering 30 per cent of first-time managers and supervisors in Australia fail to fulfill their objectives within the first two years of their tenure.

A national human resources conference in Sydney has today heard the startling statistics – the problem principally because they are not trained or adequately supported for their new roles by their employers or government. It’s also having a profound impact on national productivity.

Presenting at the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) conference, Leadership Management Australasia presented their research after having surveyed 160 decision-makers in HR, learning and development and organisational development representing over 500,000 employees.

It determined slightly over half of Australian organisations (51%) are adopting approaches that do not provide first time leaders with the support and resources necessary to succeed in those roles.

“Loss of productivity, higher staff turnover and the loss of a generation of prospective leaders is the impact of an apparent diabolical and outdated sink-or-swim approach,” Andrew Henderson, CEO of Leadership Management Australasia (LMA) said.

Henderson was speaking about the insights of the decision-makers which are published in LMA’s L.E.A.D survey book on workplace trends, presented to the HR industry for the first time at the conference.

He said the magnitude of under-investment and the apparent lack of support for first time leaders was “breathtaking”.

“First time leaders are largely being set-up for failure rather than success,” he said.

“While government and opposition leaders have expressed their concerns about our national productivity, here is one simple avenue to address the problem: fund specific training to help first-step leaders,” Henderson said.

While most consider government financial support of first time leaders to be important, the perceived level of current government support is considered to be largely inadequate, the survey found.

Only 11% believe the current level of support from government is more than sufficient with a further 29% considering it to be just sufficient. The bulk of the remainder (48%) consider that government is under-investing in first time leadership development activity.

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