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Why do 30 per cent of new managers have an epic fail within the first two years?


If you’ve ever been bummed by a past failure in a management role, you’re definitely not the only one to have suffered the harrowing experience.

New data is telling us that 30 per cent of new managers and supervisors in Australia fall flat on their faces within two years because they are not trained or supported for their new roles by their employers or government, a national Human Resources conference in Sydney today.

What are the challenges managers face?

The Australian Human Resources Institute conference in Sydney heard that a survey of 160 decision-makers in human resources, learning and  organisational development representing over 500,000 employees also shows most Australian organisations (51%) are adopting approaches that do nothing to get new managers off the ground in a helpful way..

“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higher staff turnover and the loss of a generation of prospective leaders is the impact of an apparent diabolical and outdated sink-or-swim approach,” said Andrew Henderson, CEO of Leadership Management Australasia (LMA) which undertook the research last year as part of its 13-year L.E.A.D. (Leadership Employment and Direction) Survey.

Henderson spoke about the insights of the decision-makers published in LMA’s L.E.A.D. Survey book on workplace trends. The survey results were presented to the HR industry for the first time at the conference.

How serious is the problem?

Henderson said the problem is “breathtaking”.

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

“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 added.

The survey showed 85% of the decision-makers believe it is important (35% very, 50% quite) for government to provide sufficient financial support for the training and development of people taking up the management reigns for the first time.

“This is a clear sign that government has a big role to play in this issue,” Henderson said.

A woeful lack of support?

While most consider government financial support of first time leaders to be important, the perceived level of current government support is inadequate, according to the survey:

  • 11% believe the current level of support from government is more than sufficient with a further
  • 29% considering it to be just sufficient
  • 48% consider that government is under-investing in first time leadership development activity – 32% a little less than sufficient, 16% a lot less than sufficient