Companies still struggling with leadership issues: Study

by L&D08 Sep 2016
Nobody can deny the profound impact leaders have on the success and failure of an organisation.
In LinkedIn’s Leadership Talent Challenges in Australia and New Zealand report, they cite a statistic that the CEO is responsible for up to a quarter of a company’s performance.*
Among LinkedIn’s findings was that filling leadership positions is hard work and not likely to become easier "in the near future".
In fact, 69% of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) HR decision-makers said that it’s a challenge to fill leadership positions and 63% are pessimistic about the hiring outlook for leaders during the next five years.
Moreover, the majority of the ANZ HR decision-makers who have problems filling leadership positions are seeing a “consequent negative impact” on many areas of their business. This includes impacts on employee engagement/morale, innovation and collaboration.
A lack of soft skills is seen as the most common quality (45%) missing in leadership candidates and organisations are looking at their own internal future leadership candidates to improve those skills.
Consequently, 71% of HR decision-makers consider “leadership development” a top priority for HR investment.
The report recommends that organisations need to change their mindset on “how to find, develop, and inspire leaders”.
Succession planning was implemented by 67% of companies and was the most successful strategy (for 70% of adopters) used to address the gap in leadership talent.
However, 1 in 3 HR decision-makers said their organisation had not engaged in succession planning for key leadership roles in the past 12 months.
Among LinkedIn’s suggestions to identify and build a talent leadership pipeline are to:
“Align your leadership talent strategy with your business strategy: Determine which skills, behaviours and roles are needed to successfully execute your business strategy. Your organisation’s success depends on the effectiveness of your leadership pipeline.
“Provide learning and development at the moment of need: Leaders have limited time to devote to learning. To bridge the skills gaps of your current leaders and accelerate the development of future leaders, your leadership development program should include a blend of approaches and technologies that are available when and where needed.”
The report involved LinkedIn surveying 352 HR decision-makers from large companies in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region (84 were based in ANZ).
Earlier this year, the Study of Australian Leadership found that while 84% of frontline managers believe they are effective in gaining employee commitment, only 50% of employees agree that their manager involves them in decision making.
“Our advice to Australian businesses is to get some quick wins on improving management, but also take an urgent review of what leadership skills you need for the future,” said Professor Peter Gahan, Director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership.  

“Quick wins include taking a look at your basic management practices such as setting goals and communicating KPIs.” 
* Source: Timothy J, Quigley, Craig Crossland and Robert J. Campbell, Shareholder Perceptions of CEO Impact, Strategic Management Journal 2016