The research findings, drawn from the current wave of Australasia’s most significant workplace survey and involving around 1,500 Business Leaders/Senior Managers, Middle Managers/Supervisors and Non-managerial Employees in Australia and New Zealand, suggests the future varies quite considerably depending on your perspective.
Consider the contrast evident in the following statistics from the L.E.A.D. Survey:
- 50% are highly confident about their job security (rated 8-10 out of 10)
- 46% are highly confident about their personal financial security (rated 8-10 out of 10)
- 59% are highly confident about their organisation’s future (59% rated 8-10 out of 10)
- 57% believe their organisation is growing (compared with 29% who believe it is holding steady, 10% shrinking and 4% just surviving)
- 29% rated their confidence in strength of their economy highly (8-10 out of 10)
- 14% rated their confidence in the state of politics in Australia/New Zealand highly (8-10 out of 10)
- 11% rated their confidence in the strength of the world economy highly (8-10 out of 10)
Why does this chasm exist? The research suggests that it all depends on the extent to which you can impact on the situation – the locus of control or influence. The closer you are to the situation, generally the better and more able you are to influence or control the outcomes – or at least to feel you can.
The L.E.A.D. Survey reminds us that the vast majority of people in organisations believe they cope well with change (94% believe they cope with change very or quite well). We appear to be increasingly equipped to deal with ever-changing circumstances. What varies in doing so and getting the desired outcome is the locus of control.
When people start to BELIEVE they can have an impact on a situation and set about taking actions to influence or control outcomes, they can overcome seemingly significant barriers. It is this self-belief that we see in the outlook for the future of organisations across Australia and New Zealand.
What should leaders and managers be doing? To support and reinforce positive self-belief in order to help their people and their organisations deal with uncertain times with confidence at the local and individual level, leaders and manager should:
- Look to bring the locus of control closer to the individual–
the more the individual feels they are in a position of influence or
control a situation, the more likely they will drive towards outcomes
that enable them to feel good about themselves, their team, their
department, their organisation and in time, their nation.
To bring the locus of control closer to the individual requires leaders and managers to better understand their people and what motivates them to perform. By connecting with and seeking to fulfil the needs of individuals, managers can empower their people to take control of their future and deliver the outlook and results they are aiming for.
Furthermore, leaders and managers can themselves take greater control of their own future by identifying what the vision and direction for their organisation is and working to communicate that vision widely in the interests of aligning the efforts of the entire organisation.
- Communicate about the organisation’s future – provide regular positive reassurance or at the very least clarity about the reality facing the organisation. Of note, 78% of non-managerial employees believe their leaders and managers have communicated to a great or moderate extent about the future of the organisation – a sign that leaders and managers understand the importance of keeping the communication lines open and flowing. However, one in five (22%) say this type of reassurance is lacking as present.
- Communicate about the individual’s future – provide positive reassurance and clarity about the individual’s future in the organisation. Just 66% of non-managerial employees believe their leaders and managers have communicated to a great or moderate extent about their personal future in the organisation. Conversely, one in three (34%) say their leaders and managers have provided little or no reassurance about their individual future. Remember, in the absence of information to the contrary, many will fear the worst and this will impact on their attitudes and behaviours in relation to work.
- Something to believe in – a meaningful purpose and values they can share and embrace
- Someone to believe in – a leader they can connect with, trust and willingly follow
- Someone to believe in them – affirmation and reassurance about their value and worth
Top 10 Confidence Ratings (Interim March 2013)
|% RATING 8-10 OUT OF 10
|The standard of occupational health and safety in your organisation||69|
|Your organisation’s future||59|
|Your job security||50|
|Your personal financial security||46|
|The quality and style of leadership in your organisation||40|
|The honesty and openness of communication from your organisation||40|
|That your organisation will protect your interests regardless of any changes to industrial relations law||39|
|Opportunities to advance your career in your organisation||37|
|The industrial relations environment in your organisation||37|
|Achieving balance between work and other aspects of your life||36|
|The strength of your economy||29|
|The state of politics||14|
|The strength of the world economy||11|