SA man­agers want more lead­er­ship devel­op­ment was re­cently re­leased. Here are some of the key find­ings.

The third SA Man­age­ment In­dex Re­port

Finweek English Edition - - ON THE MONEY - Co-au­thor of the SA Man­age­ment In­dex Re­port Di­rec­tor of Aca­demic Af­fairs at USB-ED is the di­rec­tor of Aca­demic Af­fairs at USB-ED and is a se­nior lec­turer ex­tra­or­di­nary at the Uni­ver­sity of Stel­len­bosch Busi­ness School. is a se­nior lec­turer at the School

African man­agers, in the main, do not per­ceive that top lead­er­ship in their or­gan­i­sa­tions spend suf­fi­cient time com­mu­ni­cat­ing with staff, with only 54.5% of the opin­ion that top lead­ers com­mu­ni­cate clearly with staff.

Linked to this per­ceived lack of clear, suf­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the lev­els of man­agers’ trust in their or­gan­i­sa­tions ap­pears to be dwin­dling (over the past three years), with only half of the man­agers sur­veyed agree­ing that a strong cul­ture of trust ex­ists in their or­gan­i­sa­tions. Open and hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion from lead­ers is a key in­gre­di­ent to build­ing cul­tures of trust.

These were the main find­ings in the re­cently re­leased SA Man­age­ment In­dex Re­port 2015/2016 and which was the sub­ject at USB Ex­ec­u­tive Devel­op­ment (USB-ED) and fin­week’s most re­cent We Read For You (WRFY) pre­sen­ta­tion held in Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg. Co-au­thored by Dr Diane Bell and Dr Carly Steyn, the re­port con­sists of a com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey of the South African man­age­ment landscape with re­sponses from 1 228 man­agers across the coun­try. The find­ings re­flect di­verse per­spec­tives, rep­re­sent­ing man­agers across in­dus­tries, sec­tors, pop­u­la­tion groups, gen­der, age groups and man­age­rial lev­els.

The re­port shows that per­cep­tions of or­gan­i­sa­tional trust have de­clined since the first sur­vey in 2013. In 2013, al­most 63% of man­agers agreed that strong cul­tures of trust ex­isted in their or­gan­i­sa­tions, com­pared with only 51% in 2015. Or­gan­i­sa­tional lead­er­ship is nev­er­the­less highly rated by the ma­jor­ity of man­agers, but ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion ap­pears to be an area for fur­ther devel­op­ment. The suc­cess­ful man­age­ment of change also con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge for many or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Al­most 70% of re­spon­dents agreed that their or­gan­i­sa­tions have suf­f­cient lead­er­ship tal­ent to ad­dress the cur­rent chal­lenges fac­ing their or­gan­i­sa­tions, but less than 60% agree that their or­gan­i­sa­tions have suf­fi­cient lead­er­ship tal­ent to ad­dress the fu­ture needs of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Al­most 40% of man­agers be­lieve that their or­gan­i­sa­tions are not do­ing enough to de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers. Fe­male man­agers re­port sig­nif­i­cantly fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop their lead­er­ship skills when com­pared with their male coun­ter­parts. Most of South African man­agers (62%) are sat­is­fied with their work-life bal­ance and over 90% main­tain that they are able to cope with the pres­sures and stress of work. Fe­male man­agers, how­ever, re­port sig­nif­i­cantly lower lev­els of sat­is­fac­tion with their work-life bal­ance than their male coun­ter­parts.

Given the eco­nomic chal­lenges faced by SA over the past year, al­most 65% of man­agers be­lieve that their or­gan­i­sa­tions are suf­fer­ing in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate. The ma­jor­ity (82%), how­ever, are of the opin­ion that their or­gan­i­sa­tions are well placed to sur­vive and thrive. Man­agers ranked “the op­por­tu­nity to learn and de­velop new skills and knowl­edge”, and “en­gage in in­ter­est­ing/ chal­leng­ing work” as their top mo­ti­va­tors. The ma­jor­ity of or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sented are, how­ever, seen as out of touch with what mo­ti­vates their em­ploy­ees, with only 53% of man­agers main­tain­ing that their or­gan­i­sa­tions take the right ap­proach to­wards mo­ti­va­tion.

While close to 90% of man­agers are con­fi­dent that they will be able to han­dle the man­age­ment chal­lenges of the fu­ture ef­fec­tively, only 52% be­lieve that suf­fi­cient time is al­lo­cated to their learn­ing and devel­op­ment needs.

Less than half of re­spon­dents have a ca­reer devel­op­ment plan in place to en­sure their growth in their or­gan­i­sa­tions, and the mi­nor­ity (42%) main­tain that there is suf­fi­cient sup­port for ca­reer devel­op­ment within their or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The re­port shows that South African or­gan­i­sa­tions may also not be in­vest­ing suf­fi­cient en­ergy and at­ten­tion into team learn­ing and devel­op­ment needs. While 81% of man­agers are re­quired to man­age peo­ple in cross-func­tional and vir­tual teams, al­most half dis­agree that their or­gan­i­sa­tions pro­vide suf­fi­cient sup­port for vir­tual team­work or that suf­fi­cient time is al­lo­cated to team learn­ing and devel­op­ment.

Man­agers ranked “coach­ing and de­vel­op­ing oth­ers” as the most im­por­tant skill that a man­ager should pos­sess, fol­lowed by “strate­gic think­ing” and “de­vel­op­ing strong net­works and part­ner­ships”.

A pleas­ing as­pect of the re­port is that South African man­agers gen­er­ally ex­pressed high lev­els of com­mit­ment to and pride in their or­gan­i­sa­tions. Al­most 87% are sat­is­fied to be work­ing for their or­gan­i­sa­tions and 78% in­tend to be work­ing for their or­gan­i­sa­tions in two years’ time.

South African or­gan­i­sa­tions need to (1) in­vest in learn­ing and devel­op­ment, as well as suc­ces­sion plan­ning if they wish to re­main com­pet­i­tive; (2) identify and pre­pare the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers faster; (3) reaf­firm their lead­er­ship devel­op­ment ef­forts with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on women and; (4) in­ter­ven­tions aimed at build­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional trust, en­hanc­ing top lead­er­ship com­mu­ni­ca­tion and man­ag­ing change will go a long way to strength­en­ing South African busi­nesses.

Dr Diane Bell

Dr Carly Steyn

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