Category Archives: L.E.A.D.

LEAD whitepaper - Leadership through understanding | LMA

L.E.A.D. whitepaper

Leadership through understanding – your ticket to organisational success.

The latest findings from LMA’s latest Leadership, Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D) Survey reveal…

  • What it means to be a modern leader
  • Managing change is a core focus in organisational life
  • Confidence underpins commitment and action
  • Motivation and influencing performance comes through understanding your people

These issues are among the most profound to emerge from this summary of the L.E.A.D. Survey and they present leaders and  managers with an important opportunity to really connect with the people in their organisations to get the best from them – and in doing so to get the best from their organisations for the future.

Use the form above to download the summary of key findings from Leadership Management Australasia’s (LMA) Leadership, Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey (November 2014).

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How to get your team to be a world beater | LMA

How to get your team to be a world beater

Leaders may need to take the attitude of a sports coach to get their staff performing, especially if workers are not motivated to do so.

Leadership Management Australasia is highlighting the performance of elite coaches, players and officials across many sporting codes,  who have been in the spotlight and under pressure to perform at  their peak – much like many leaders in everyday workplaces.

LMA’s  Leadership, Employment and Direction Survey manager, Adrian Goldsmith, says the behaviour of those who have claimed the elusive  premiership or title can be followed by leaders outside the  sporting arena. In the past, explosive tirades have been successful by both sporting coaches and workplace leaders to urge workers to  appease them.

But nowadays those who are professional and sophisticated in their  approach get the best performance, he says. “In today’s sporting environment we are far more likely to see a number of coaches and  assistants working with smaller groups and individuals to discuss  and plan the approaches to be used to improve performance,” Goldsmith says.

“These discussions are based on sound data, accurate measurement  and monitoring and high quality feedback. The conversations are  specifically tailored to the individual or the small group and are  based on a strong relationship, rapport and understanding of each  person, developed over months or even years of close interaction  and collaboration.”

Goldsmith warns that leaders and managers in many organisations  still routinely forget true motivation to perform comes from within the individual. “As leaders, managers and coaches, all we can really do then is support their initiative and impetus to help them on their  journey.”


  1. Receiving reasonable salary/pay
  2. Being entrusted with responsibility/independence
  3. Interesting/challenging work
  4. Good relationship with other staff
  5. Flexible work arrangements/hours/family friendly
  6. Job security
  7. Receiving good feedback and communication
  8. Having clear objectives/goals set

Article from The Advertiser (Adelaide) newspaper, 8 November 2014

Employer of Choice | LMA

Employer of Choice – new challenges, new dimensions

New data suggests that the concept of Employer of Choice is taking on new dimensions in the minds of many as employment markets tighten and economic concerns remain front of mind for most organisations and their leaders.

‘Employer of choice’ is a term often used to describe organisations that are the preferred or most desired to work for in an industry or sector. Through the L.E.A.D. Survey, Leadership Management Australasia has looked at the concept on several occasions over the past five years to identify what organisations can and should do to present as an Employer of Choice in their industry or sector in order to attract and retain talent.

Latest results suggest that Business Leaders and Senior Managers have an expanding list of expectations when it comes to seeking an Employer of Choice. Family/life friendly workplace practices has rocketed into the top five factors along with the organisation actively seeking input and feedback from its staff, presumably including its leaders and senior managers.

Middle Managers and Supervisors are also placing increasing focus and attention on family/life friendly workplace practices suggesting that in tough economic times, it is the rest of a persons life outside of work that suffers most in the drive to sustain or survive.

From a Non-Managerial/Supervisory Employee perspective, little has changed in recent times with one key difference in their list of Employer of Choice factors showing up – is a place where your can have fun and enjoy working. In difficult times, being able to enjoy work and have fun is a coping strategy and enables the team to ‘soldier on’ even if things look somewhat bleak.

Recognition and reward, investment in learning and development of people and having passionate and engaging management also play a prominent role in employees seeking  organisation for which they would happily work and apply their discretionary effort. Interestingly, when asked whether they feel they have the right balance between work and  other aspects of their lives: 65 percent of Non-managerial employees, 60 percent of Middle managers and 59 percent of Business Leaders felt they had the right work/life balance.

The connection between Employer of Choice and perceptions of the right work/life balance is clear – even in a tough/patchy/soft employment market, people will only continue to work for organisations that are able to provide for their needs. Employers of Choice routinely and consistently deliver on their peoples needs and in return they enjoy a stable, productive, engaged and empowered workforce that is focused on achievement for the organisation as much as for themselves – great payoffs for focusing on becoming an Employer of Choice.

What should leaders and managers do to present as an Employer of Choice?

  • Understand what makes an Employer of Choice.

– Take the time to understand what the new shopping list looks like when it comes to employees hunting for an employer of choice.
– Identify what is possible for the organisation to provide and what it is prepared to do to attract and retain top talent.

  • Identify your company’s strengths.

– Pinpoint the extent to which the organisation can trade on its offer and performance in the most important employer of choice areas.
– Identify strengths and make these a focus in the presentation of the organisation to prospective employees.

  • Showcase your company’s strengths.

– Don’t be afraid to showcase other employer of choice factors than just individual or personally-focused factors – in a tight contest for talent where all else may be equal,  the more altruistic elements may just make the difference between getting and losing the talent.

Article from Management Magazine (NZ), November edition, 2014

Discover the best form of motivation for your team | LMA

Modern motivation for the workplace

At this time each year, elite coaches, players and officials in many sporting codes are in the spotlight and under pressure to perform at their peak – to claim that elusive premiership.

In past decades, some memorably explosive tirades from coaches often saw individuals and whole teams reverse the flow of the game and soar to new heights – in many cases to claim the title –to appease (or even vindicate) the coach.

As time has passed and the professionalism, complexity and sophistication associated with sport has evolved to higher levels, so too have the methods used to get the best performance from the various contributors.

Far from witnessing a vitriolic, hot-headed attack on the playing group, imploring them to perform as a unit, in today’s sporting environment we are far more likely to see a number of coaches and assistants working with smaller groups and individuals to discuss and plan the approaches to be used to improve performance. These discussions are based on sound data, accurate measurement and monitoring and high quality feedback.

The conversations are specifically tailored to the individual or the small group and are based on a strong relationship, rapport and understanding of each person, developed over months or even years of close interaction and collaboration.

As in the sporting world, the organisational world has evolved. Leaders and managers in today’s successful and growing organisations are much more strategic and focused on the individual than ever before. In essence the ‘old-school’ adages of “one size fits all” and “treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen” no longer allow organisations to get the best from an employee or team member.

However leaders and managers in many organisation still routinely forget that true motivation to perform comes from within the individual – it’s not something we DO TO our people, it’s something they DO FOR THEMSELVES. It comes through their identification of the needs they seek to fulfil through their work and their commitment to perform to their potential – to work to satisfy those needs. As leaders, managers, coaches, all we can really do then is support their initiative and impetus to help them on their journey.

This support be provided in a number of forms and based on the latest Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey results, we need to be mindful of what makes people want to perform, to apply their discretionary effort to benefit themselves, their teams, departments and organisations.

The latest Top 5 Positive Influences on Employee Performance reveal a wide range of potential motivations to perform and highlight the gulf that often exists between what employees know influences their performance and what managers and leaders believe influences that performance:

Q: Looking at the list below, please nominate which five factors you feel have the most positive influence on your (your staff’s) performance at work today.

Influences on workplace performance NOW (Ranking)



Managers2014 Leaders2014
Reasonable salary/pay 1 1 4
Being entrusted with responsibility/independence 2 5 5
Interesting/challenging work =3 8 3
Good relationship with other staff =3 12 =8
Flexible work arrangements/hours/family-friendly =3 =3 7
Job security 6 =3 =10
Receiving good feedback and communication 7 2 1
Having clear objectives/goals set =8 6 2

Given the variability in the rankings of influences on performance, it is clear that few managers and leaders understand the importance of the team in motivating the individual to perform. Working with a team we like to work with can override or allow us to overlook deficiencies in other influences, for example, the inability to provide market-competitive salaries in a tight economic environment.

Likewise, leaders seem to believe good feedback and communication can influence employee performance ahead of all other influences (ranking it #1 influence) including reasonable salary/pay which they rank at #4, flexibility (#7) and relationships with other staff (equal 8th).

Leaders and managers who don’t invest time and energy in understanding their people and their motivations, run a very real risk that the needs of their people won’t be met or supported by the organisation and those valuable team members will become disengaged, disillusioned and unproductive. In time they will be the first to jump ship when other, more gratifying and satisfying opportunities arise.

So what should modern or ‘new-school’ leaders and managers be doing to draw out the motivations that lie within their people?

  1. Connect with your people – take the time to discover or rediscover them as people rather than simply employees. Take an interest in their lives and them.
  2. Understand their motivations – discuss with them their goals and aspirations, where they’d like to develop and progress, how they’d like their roles and careers to develop.
  3. Develop individual motivation plans/profiles – create a profile of each employee/team member that can be added to and enhanced to improve your understanding of them and their needs.
  4. Develop team goals and objectives with the team and cascade them to each individual – by developing the goals and objectives with the team and helping them to translate those goals to their own performance you make a strong connection with their motivations.
  5. Develop agreed meaningful measures of performance – work with the individuals and the team as a whole to identify the most appropriate and meaningful measures of performance. Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as needed to guide the individuals and the team towards the desired goals/objectives.
  6. Provide feedback regularly – celebrate success, identify opportunities for improvement and give people the opportunity to draw on their self-motivation to perform to their potential.
  7. Be flexible and prepared to adjust to retain and develop people – the modern organisation needs to exhibit high levels of flexibility in order to derive the best from its people. Flexibility in how the work is performed, how the leaders and managers support the individual to fulfil needs and flexibility in recognising and rewarding performance.

Remember, if you’re not spending significant time in your people’s worlds seeking to understand and support them and tap into their motivations, they are very likely not to want to spend a great deal of time in yours. And all the ranting and raving in the world will not help you to generate the performance you seek from them.

Who's winning the gender war | LMA

Who’s winning the gender war?

Australia and New Zealand have made significant progress towards gender equality but it appears that perception of the level of change may be skewed depending on which sex you speak to.

The latest Leadership, Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D) Survey has highlighted the differing views on the difficulty for women to reach senior management positions compared to the 80’s and 90’s.

On the face of things there appears to be little, albeit positive, change with 63% of leaders, 64% of managers and 67% of employees who perceive it to be easier for women to reach senior management position than in the 80’s and 90’s.

However, when the statistics are broken down to male and female respondents the results are more concerning:

  • 36% of female leaders, 40% of female managers and 52% female employees perceive it to be easier for women to reach senior management positions than the 80’s and 90’s, compared to 72%, 78% and 75% male respondents respectively.
  • 51% of female leaders, 52% of female managers and 36% female employees perceive the difficulty for women to reach senior management positions has not changed since the 80’s and 90’s, compared to 20%, 17% and 13% male respondents respectively.

The overall measure seems to mask the perceived difference in the experience of men and women at all levels of the organisation. It highlights that men are significantly more likely to believe the situation is balanced, whereas women report that men are still winning the so-called gender war.

From LMA’s L.E.AD. survey book “Today’s workplace – Present realities…Future realities”, 2013

Job satisfaction – getting the balance right to keep people ‘on song’

The latest results from the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey show a mixed bag of results on the job satisfaction front. This tells an interesting story of what’s really going on in the workplace currently. At an overall level:

  • 62% of non-managerial employees are satisfied with their current job (up from 53% in 2012)
  • 49% of middle managers and supervisors are satisfied with their current job (well down from 60% in 2012)
  • 77% of business leaders and senior managers are satisfied with their current job (steady from 78% in 2012)

These proportions love their job or gain a great deal of personal satisfaction from their work. With Leaders steady, Managers down and Employees up in satisfaction terms, it would seem the managers are the meat in the sandwich yet again. Interestingly, employees are deriving increasingly greater satisfaction, a sign that those who have a job are keen to enjoy it – and keep it.

Job satisfaction has a lot to do with the workplace environment and conditions experienced by the individual – the resources, the roles and responsibilities, the management and leadership and the people they work with. Getting the mix right is therefore critical and core responsibility lies with the leaders of the organisation. Creating the right environment for performance is a fundamental feature of modern management and an aspect sadly lacking in many organisations.
Job satisfaction – getting the balance right to keep people ‘on song’ | LMA

Q. Here are some attitude statements about work.  For each statement, please click one answer to indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the statement.

Through the history of the L.E.A.D. Survey, around four in five people in organisations have indicated that they would like to develop and advance their career with their current organisation. Yet consistently only around two-thirds believe this is possible – suggesting their organisation does not value or support their on-going development in the interests of retaining them.

Reflecting the earlier results relating to reassurance, leaders and managers need to be creating the vision and the environment that attracts and retains people, especially in light of the cost of staff turnover and the dislocation it brings to the organisation. Latest results on the offers Leaders and Managers are prepared to make to keep and attract people highlight the importance of nurturing the talent once you have it:
Job satisfaction – getting the balance right to keep people ‘on song’ | LMA



So what should leaders and managers do?

  • Take the time to appreciate and understand each individual in the team – the more you can know about them, the more you can work to create the environment that attracts and retains the right people for the organisation – and the more likely they are to perform.
  • Look for avenues to improve job satisfaction through flexible workplace practices. Demonstrate a willingness to adjust the work environment to suit individual needs and explore ways to celebrate the achievements of the team as they perform under these conditions.
  • Identify the pathways and stepping stones that will enable individuals to develop, grow and progress with the organisation rather than needing to leave and join another organisation in order to develop. Tuning in to their aspirations and exploring ways to keep them progressing will significantly reduce the cost of turnover and the disruption it causes.

“Regular one-on-one discussions with each team member about their aspirations and goals, the work they do, what they enjoy and where they’d like to take their career may be the difference between keeping them or fare-welling them as they go in search of an organisation that can satisfy their needs. Holding them and developing them will save tens of thousands of dollars and enhance the organisation’s productivity and sustainability.”
Grant Sexton, Executive Chairman, LMA

Planning for failure?

83 percent of leaders and managers claim to have a business plan for 2014, but only 66 percent of employees believe their organisation has a plan.

The latest results from a 10-question survey, as part of our ongoing 14-year monitor of Australian and New Zealand workplace trends, the Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey, showed some organisations are not effectively communicating their business plan to employees.

The CEO of LMA, Andrew Henderson said it was disturbing to discover that while almost all leaders, managers and employees recognised a plan was essential to secure the future of their organisations, one third of employees believed their organisations had started the new work year without one.

“In these uncertain economic times, failing to plan is in effect planning to fail,” he said.

“The plan starts with leaders clearly identifying the vision and plan, clearly communicating the goals, direction and vision and then having the confidence in themselves as well as gaining the confidence of their people to execute the plan. Leaders have to ‘walk the talk’.”

Planning contributes to growth and success, he said, which is borne out in the survey’s correlation between organisational growth status and the presence of a plan.

Across leaders, managers and employees, amongst those who believe their organisation is currently “Growing”, 86 percent have a business plan for 2014 while amongst those organisations believed to be “Holding Steady” 82 percent have a plan.

In contrast, organisations thought to be “Shrinking” or “Just Surviving” 76 percent and 67 percent respectively have a business plan for 2014.

Hard work and no play makes Jack and Jill unhappy

Across the workforce in Australia and New Zealand we’re working hard, perhaps harder   than ever before, to keep our organisations going in tough times. But a huge chunk of that work is going unrecognised and unrewarded.

Read the full article here


First time managers set up to fail

Did you know:

  • Only 18% of HR professionals surveyed believe that their organisation invests to a great extent in training and skilling people to take on their first leadership role.
  • 38% believe the first time leaders in their organisation are poorly supported in their roles.

Putting a great performer into a role leading or managing a bunch of former colleagues, without adequate training, development and support is a recipe for disaster.

Some will adapt and apply themselves successfully to the role, even without support through their own fortitude and focus, but many will flounder.

Actions to improve the level of investment and support in first time leaders will pay a handsome dividend in the form of improved success and reduced failure.

From LMA’s L.E.A.D. survey book “Today’s workplace – Present realities…Future realities”, 2013
Available for purchase, click here to order a copy of the book.

Stay and grow?

Since the L.E.A.D. Survey began, there has been a clear preference for employees to stay with their current employers, rather than move elsewhere for professional development and career advancement.

Reaching a peak of 87% in 2009, the percentage of employees who would prefer to stay where they are in order to develop has stayed consistently high. The 2013 Survey shows a similarly high level of desire  – 83% of employees would prefer to advance their careers with their current organisation.

However, the 25% gap between the 83% who would like to develop with their current organisation and the 58% who believe this is possible is significant. Closing this gap, through the creation of opportunities is essential to retain quality staff and avoid costly turnover.

From LMA’s L.E.A.D. survey book “Today’s workplace – Present realities…Future realities”, 2013

Available for purchase, click here to order a copy of the book.