SA managers want more leadership development was recently released. Here are some of the key findings.
The third SA Management Index Report
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