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Emerging Leaders  Report  2012 Engaging  and  Retaining  Young  Emerging  Leaders

Alicia Cur*s www.aliciacur) alicia@aliciacur)


About the  Author Alicia   Cur<s   is   one   of   Australia’s   most   experienced   mentors   of   young   leaders.   She   has   managed   her   own   leadership  development  consultancy   since   2002,   working   with  thousands  of  young  people  aged  12  to  35  years  old. Alicia’s   talent   is   in   developing   engaging   leadership   programs   that   inspire   young   professionals  to   step   up   in   their  careers  and  community.       She   is   a   Professional   Member   of   the   Na<onal   Speakers   Associa<on   of   Australia   and   received   the   Western   Australian   Excellence  in   Speaking  Award  in  2008.       Alicia   also  holds  a  Masters  in  Business  Leadership.   Alicia   herself   has   had   a   diverse   range   of   leadership   experiences   including   aOending   the   first   Interna<onal  Children’s   Conference   on   the  Environment  host  by   the  United  Na<ons  in  1995  when   she  was  just   12  years   old.     She  then  went  on   to   co-­‐found  her   own   Children’s  Conference   in   Perth   with   three  other   young   people   when  she   was   13   years  old.     The  organisa<on  s<ll   exists  today  as   Millennium  Kids.   Alicia   has   held   many   leadership   posi<ons   such   as   State   President   of   the   Na<onal   Speakers   Associa<on  in   2010,  Na<onal  Young   Business  and  Professional  Women’s   Director  from  2007  -­‐   2010   and  she  even  ran  as  an  independent  candidate  for  the  Federal  Senate,  being  profiled  on  Sunrise  and   polling  7th  out  of  15  groups  in  the  2004  elec<on.   Currently,   Alicia   leads   one   of   Australia’s   largest   and   most   ac<ve   online   communi<es   for   young   professionals  called  Emergen.    This  website  ac<vates  young  emerging  leaders  through  connec<on  to   people  and  resources,  providing  inspira<onal  educa<on  opportuni<es  and  promo<on.   www.aliciacur<   Special  thanks  to  Mark  Elbourne  for  his  extraordinary  assistance  in  colla<ng  this  report.   Origina3ng  from  the  UK,  Mark  Elbourne  is  a  university  student  on  exchange  from  the  University  of   Sheffield  studying  at  UWA.  He  has  been  involved  with  Alicia  Cur3s  as  a  Prac3cum  student  from  May-­‐ June  and  was  given  the  responsibility  of  draMing  the  2012  edi3on  of  the  Emerging  Leaders  Report.   Mark  returned  home  at  the  end  of  June  2012  having  spent  a  year  in  Perth.  


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


Execu-ve Summary The   third   edi<on   of   the   annual   report   Emerging   Leaders   Report   provides   genuine   insight   into   the   expecta<ons  and  challenges  of  emerging  leaders  in  the  workplace.  Our  analysis  is  based  on  a  survey  in  June   2012  of  201  young  professionals  across  Australia.

Demographics of  Survey  Respondents ➡ Over  80%  were  aged  between  23  and  32  with  65%  female  and  35%  male. ➡ 32%  worked  for  companies  of  1-­‐50  employees,  25%  with  companies  of  50-­‐500  employees  and  43%   with  companies  of  over  500  employees. ➡ Over  50%  are  based  in  Western  Australia.

Summary of  Survey  Findings ➡ 30%  said  being  given  opportuni<es  to  further  their  professional  development  was  the  single  biggest   challenge  in  the  workplace,  a  repeat  of  last  year’s  result. ➡ For  those  in  leadership  posi<ons,  48%  see  their  greatest  challenge  as  managing  and  mo<va<ng   others,  with  many  of  the  problems  stemming  from  an  uninspired  workforce. ➡ The  number  intending  to  stay  with  their  employee  for  two  years  or  less  has  grown  to  over  50%. ➡ Employees  are  more  commiOed  to  their  employer  if  they  are  happy,  with  the  number  intending  to   stay  for  five  years  or  more  increasing  by  over  10%  on  last  year. ➡ Young  professionals  want  to  see  more  leadership  opportuni<es  and  training  &  development   available  to  them  in  the  workplace  to  prepare  them  for  posi<ons  of  responsibility. ➡ Emerging  Leaders  want  to  have  challenging  work  and  a  great  culture  in  their  workplace,  but  are  less   concerned  about  the  company’s  perceived  reputa<on  or  fringe  benefits. ➡ A  s<mula<ng  job  and  good  work/life  balance  score  higher  as  career  goals  for  Emerging  Leaders  than   a  leadership  posi<on.   ➡ Almost  four  in  five  par<cipants  agreed  they  wanted  to  incorporate  overseas  travel  into  their  career.

Key Recommenda-ons ➡ Provide  a  program  that  gives  emerging  leaders  the  opportunity  to  learn,  share  and  prac<ce  skills  in   a  safe  environment.   ➡ Host  discussions  for  new  managers  to  communicate  the  common  challenges  when  leading  their   team. ➡ Conduct  quarterly  professional  development  plans  that  explore  the  opportuni<es  for  professional   development  and  developing  experience  in  the  workplace.   ➡ Iden<fy  the  opportuni<es  to  increase  variety  within  roles.   ➡ Discuss  and  implement  workplace  values  and  discuss  how  this  shapes  the  culture  of  an   organisa<on. ➡ Lead  a  suppor<ve  and  encouraging  environment  that  iden<fies  and  nurtures  people’s  strengths,  so   that  people  are  judged  on  their  merit  and  not  their  age  or  experience  level.  

** 7  key  ideas  for  organisa-ons  are  listed  in  the  Recommenda-ons  sec-on  on  Page  19.

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Contents Execu-ve Summary




Survey Methodology


Challenges in  the  Workplace


Nurturning Emerging  Leaders


Biggest Leadership  Challenge


Developing and  Retaining  Emerging  Leaders


Empowering Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today


Workplace Incen-ves


Conclusion and  Recommenda-ons


How can  Alicia  help  your  organisa-on?    


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    




These emerging leaders provide an organisation

with key insights

into our changing, ever evolving world if we provide the

platform for

them to do so.

One of   the   key  challenges  for   organisa<ons  in  today’s  fiercely   compe<<ve   global   environment   is   how   to   inspire   and   retain   its   emerging   leaders,     understanding   their   key  mo<va<on   drivers  and   providing   useful   resources   to   further   develop   their   skills   and   knowledge.   These   emerging   leaders   provide   an   organisa<on   with  key   insights  into  our   changing,  ever   evolving   world    if  we  provide  the  pladorm  for  them  to  do  so.   Now  in  its  third  year,  the  Emerging   Leaders  Report  is  unique  in  providing   an   honest  commentary   of  young  professionals  in  Australia.  In   previous  surveys,   findings  have  demonstrated  a  strong  need  to  fire  the  imagina<on   and   skills   of  those  who  show  talent  and  ambi<on.    Emerging  leader   crave  the  chance   to  influence  their  workplace,  but  ofen  feel  s<fled  by  a  lack  of  opportuni<es   to   display   their   talents.   Businesses   can   gain   an   advantage   by   developing   these   young   leaders   by   understanding   what   they   value   and   what   they   expect  from  their  employers  as  they  define  their  careers  and  lives.   The  report  focuses  on   the   expecta<ons  and   challenges  faced  by   emerging   leaders  in  the  workplace,  what  encourages  emerging   leaders  to  stay  with  an   employer  and  how  to  become  an  employer  of  choice.   The   comments  highlighted   by   survey   respondents   offer   opinions   that  are     representa<ve   of   general  themes  that   have  emerged   from  results.   We  have   also   provided   comprehensive,   concise   analysis   of   the   data   to   ensure   the   cri<cal  informa<on  that  business  leaders  need  to  know  is  easily  accessible.  

Survey Methodology

Emerging leaders

crave the chance to influence their workplace.

The survey   behind   the  Emerging   Leaders   Report   was  conducted   online   in   May   and   June   of   2012   and   targeted   young   professionals  across   Australia     keen  to  develop  and  progress  in  their   careers  and  generally  give  credence  to   the  <tle  ‘Emerging  Leaders’.   Predominantly,  the  survey   was  promoted   through   the  online  collabora<ve   community  which  was  established  to   facilitate  networking   between  young  emerging  leaders  aged  between  20  and  35.   The  survey  was   also  sent  to  various  professional  industry   associa<ons  which   together   give   our   results   a   vast   array   of   opinions   origina<ng   from   a   variety   of   backgrounds. The  survey   aOracted  a  broad   range  of   ages  between  20   and  39,  with   the   majority   of  par<cipants   between   23  and  32.  The  survey  was  completed  by   201  people,  of  which  65.2%   were  female  and  just  over  a  third  male  (34.8%).   The   size  of   business  worked   for   by   par<cipants   also   offered   a   good   split,   with  almost  a  third  employed   in  smaller   companies  (32.3%),  24.4%  working   in  businesses  with  between  50  and   500  employees   and  the  greatest  single  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




propor<on employed   in   businesses   with   over   500   employees   (43.3%).   Again,  the  scope  of  businesses  covered  was  well  split   with  30.9%  at  local  or   regional  businesses,  31.3%   with   na<onal  businesses  and  37.8%  working  for   global  businesses.   The  greatest  single  propor<on  of  par<cipants  had  been   with  their  employer   for  between   1  and   3  years  (38%).  New   starters  of   a  year  or   less  made  up   31%  of  the  par<cipants,  17%  had  been   employed   for  between  3  and  5  years   and   finally   10.5%   had   been   with   their   employer   for  over  five   years.   3.5%   were   either   students   or   unemployed.   The   split   of   industries   saw   many   par<cipants   coming   from   professional   services,   educa<on   services   and   government.   As  well  as  these,   par<cipants   came  from   mining,  healthcare   and  construc<on  backgrounds  amongst  others.   Over   half   the   par<cipants   (56.7%)   spend   the   majority   of   their   <me   in   Western   Australia,   whilst   the   next   greatest   propor<on   reside   in   Victoria   (18.9%)   and  thirdly  New  South  Wales  (12.4%).  43.3%  of  our   par<cipants  are   members  of   the  online   community  43.7%  of   par<cipants   are  currently  in  a  leadership  posi<on  in  the  workplace. The  survey  follows  the  trends  that  have  developed  over  the  last  three  years,   as   well   as   opportunity   for   the   par<cipants   to   provide   commentary   on   specific   ques<ons   rela<ng   to   the   main   focuses   of   the   report:   leadership   issues  and  career  ambi<ons.   With   no  obliga<ons  from   outside  influences  to   dictate  results  in  any   way,   the   findings   of   this   report   transforms   outdated   opinions   of   a   younger   genera<on  and  generates  real  insight  into  Australia’s  emerging  leaders.


activating emerging leaders

Emergen is  a  collabora<ve  online  community  that  ac<vates  young   emerging   leaders   in   Australia.     It’s   free   to   join   and   has  a  range   of   resources   and   ac<vi<es  for  young  professionals.  


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


Challenges in  the  Workplace When   asked   to   describe   their   biggest   challenge   in   the   workplace,   the   majority  of  par<cipants  responded:   ‘GeSng  opportuni3es  to  gain  more  knowledge  to  further  my  career’

The$biggest$challenges$for$Emerging$Leaders$$ in$the$workplace$ Influencing$Leadership$

“How to identify and develop the

necessary skills







and experience so



that I can




meaningfully to the

0.0%$ 5.0%$ 10.0%$ 15.0%$ 20.0%$



25.0%$ 30.0%$ 35.0%$

objectives as well

be in a position to advance my career.”

The biggest   challenge   for   emerging   leaders   was   again   limited   access   to   professional   development,   with   30.2%   of   the   total   responses   rela<ng   directly   to   it.   This   follows   on   from   last   year’s  result   which   found   a   very   similar   outcome   with   24%   of   the   total.     This  year,   respondents   cited   the   following  skills  and  knowledge  that  they  wanted  to  develop: -­‐ -­‐ -­‐ -­‐ -­‐

Dealing with  colleagues,  team  members  and  their  manager Leadership  and  managerial  skills Time  management Building  credibility Finding  mentors

Emerging leaders  have  been  shaped   by   the  no<on  of   life  long  learning  and   therefore  see  professional  development  as  a  key   part  of   their   careers.    As   they   are   s<ll   developing   themselves   as   leaders,   they   see   professional   development  as  a  way  to  get  ahead.    Mentoring  and  training  programs  were   men<oned  as  preferred  methods  of  professional  development.  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  





The second   biggest   challenge   was   being   held   back   by   their   age   and   perceived  inexperience  (29%).   ‘Finding  room  to  grow,  and  being  taken  seriously  by  fellow  employees’ Challenges   rela<ng   to   being   discriminated   against   based   on   age   was   highlighted  again   afer  having  first  surfaced  in  our  2010  report   as   a  major   problem   but  not   specifically   in   2011.   This   year,   almost   30%   thought   this   was   a  major  challenge.    Emerging   leaders  require  an  environment  to  trial   new   ideas   and   make   mistakes,   an   environment   that   is  also   conducive   to   innova<on.     However,  many  young  professionals   don’t  feel  like  they   have   the  suppor<ve  environment  to  learn  and  grow.       Thirteen   percent   of   respondents   named   the   need   for   greater   management  skills   to   fulfil  their   leadership   responsibili-es.    “Managing   people   that   have   more   years   (age   and   experience)   than   myself”,   “developing   leadership   and   management   skills   which   are   not   taught   in   university”   and   “managing   other   people”   were   common   comments   that   highlighted  the  need  for  greater  leadership  training  for  new  leaders.  

“Being so young in a position of

leadership, I find it frustrating that

people often refer to my age, in that

'you are too young to know that'.”

Almost one  in  ten  par-cipants   (9.4%)  listed  confidence  issues  as  a   major   concern.  Examples  of   challenges   include  ‘being  able  to  voice   opinions’  and   ‘confidence   in  my   abili3es   from  both  myself   and   others’.    Combined  with   feelings  of   having  to  build  credibility  and  “being  taken  seriously  by  the   ‘old   guard’”  indicates  a  lack  of  support  and  guidance  for  emerging   leaders.  This   has   been   men<oned  in  previous   reports.  Lack   of  recogni<on   or   credibility   among   colleagues,   limited   engagement   with   leaders   and   not   being   considered   for   roles   with   greater   responsibility   can   disenchant   younger   professionals  who   wish  to   succeed   and   move   ahead.   Mentoring,   support   and  career   guidance  can  acknowledge  their  feelings  and  set  them   on  the   right  track. Other  challenges  that  were  men<oned  by  respondents  included: -­‐

Dealing with  gender  biases  and  harassment  (par<cularly   for  young   women) Defining  their  talents  and  strengths Work/Life  balance  

-­‐ -­‐


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


Nurturing Emerging  Leaders A  concern   ofen  raised  in  previous  years  of  this  study  has  shown  that  young   professionals  believe  there  to   be  a   lack  of   opportuni-es  for  them  to  show   their   leadership   talents.   The   graph   shows   what   percentage   of   young   professionals  agreed  that  each   category  was  a  factor   in  holding  them  back   from  leadership  roles.   What%holds%you%back%from%going%for%leadership%roles%at%work?%% Qualifica8ons$




There is a clear


connection between


the top three



Experience$ 63.3%$

responses: a lack of


experience comes








from a lack of opportunities to gain experience.

The greatest  degree  of  agreement  was  given   to  experience  with  almost  two   thirds   agreeing   (63.3%).   This   follows   on   last   year’s   study   that   found   experience  to  be  the  second  biggest   factor  behind  the  employee’s  age.  This   year,  the  second  most  well-­‐supported  response  was  that   the   organisa<onal   structure  holding  emerging  leaders  back  from  leadership  posi<ons  (55.1%).   Other   points   of   interest   were   a   lack   of   opportuni<es   (gaining   48.1%   agreement)   and   last   year’s   top   factor,   age   –   this   year   achieving   41.8%   agreement.  Extent  of   disagreement  roughly  followed  this  guide  in  reverse,   however  more  than   anything  else  respondents  disagreed  that  qualifica<ons   were  holding  them  back  (55.7%).   There  is   a   clear   connec-on   between   the   top   three   responses:   a   lack   of   experience  comes   from   a   lack   of   opportuni-es   to   gain  experience,   which   in   turn   comes   as   a   result   of   the   organisa-onal   culture   and   a_tude   towards   such   development.     Our   findings   have   shown   that   emerging   leaders   are  aware  that  their  age  and  perceived  inexperience  is  a   drawback   to  their  progression  and  so  are  desperate  to  find  opportuni<es  to  alter   that.   Most   do   not   believe   businesses   are   doing   enough   to   give   young   professionals  every  opportunity  to  be  prepared  to  go  for  such  roles.  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Biggest Leadership  Challenges  for  Emerging  Leaders The   biggest   leadership   challenge   facing   young   professionals   today   is   the   ability   to   manage   and   mo-vate  other   employees.   This  was   expressed   in   many   formats   and   from   various   perspec<ves,   but   overwhelmingly,   47.6%   saw  this  as  their  greatest  leadership  challenge.  

“Inspiring excellence in others. Older management

personnel that have been in the


organisation a long



time and are not

open to new ideas/


Age/inexperience&Barriers& Organisa)onal&culture&&&Leadership&Issues& Managing&and&Mo)va)ng&Others&

ways of doing




0.0%& 10.0%& 20.0%& 30.0%& 40.0%& 50.0%&

Beyond this  dominant   factor,   the   next   biggest   challenge   was  overcoming   the   organisa-onal  culture  and  influencing   leadership   (25.8%),   then  came   age  or  inexperience  related  barriers  (15.3%)   and  finally   a   lack   of   training   or  resources  (11.3%).  

Perceived barriers   rela<ng   to   the   professional’s   age   and   experience   have   also  risen.    Comments  such  as  ‘people  don’t  take  me  seriously   because  I  am   young’   and   ‘being   seen   as   credible’   demonstrate   issues   of   authority   as   young  people  baOle  against  discriminatory  barriers  in  order  to  do  their  job.   Yet  many   emerging   leaders  recognise  that  managing   older   employees  can   some<mes  lead   to   a  clash   of   work   styles,   expecta<ons   and   strengths  on   both  sides: “The   ability   to   connect   with   people   older   than   you,   who   might   feel   frustrated  and  irritated  by  your  constant  energy  and  well-­‐respected  ideas.”   Other  comments  that  provide  insight  into  the  leadership  challenges: “Unable  to  create  a  good  team  that  unites  together.” “Inspiring  my  team  to  employ  the  same  customer  first  and  change   champion   mindset  I  subscribe  to.”

These young professionals have a

“Re-­‐engaging other   employees   that   have   become   complacent   /   lost   drive   due  to  lack  of  leadership.”

passion and desire to

“Feeling unsupported  and  isolated”

inspire excellence and create high performing teams.

“Encouraging and  suppor3ng  autonomy  and  the  ability  to  problem  solve” “Finding   the   balance   between   suppor3ng   people   and   challenging   them/ pushing  them  to  achieve  more.” “Challenge   of   taking   on   new   teams   and   establishing   boundaries   and   expecta3ons   Frustrated   by   levels   of   bureaucracy   that   s3fles   change   and   innova3on” These  young   professionals  have  a  passion  and   desire   to   inspire   excellence   and  create  high  performing   teams.    Organisa<ons  can  harness   this  through   suppor<ve  work   environments,  mentoring  and  training,   and   role  modelling   collabora<ve  leadership.

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  





Developing and  Retaining  Young  Professionals In  difficult  <mes,  retaining  and   developing  the   young   professionals   in   your   organisa<on   may   give   you   a   compe<<ve   edge   over   a   compe<tor   who   neglects   this   and   sees   ambi<ous,   younger   genera<ons   leave   for   more   demanding  challenges  and  opportuni<es  elsewhere.   Effec-ve  Reten-on Nearly   thirty   percent   of   survey  respondents  were  happy   to   stay  with   their   current  employer  for  more  than  5  years.   ‘I  like  my  workplace  environment  and  the  company  culture’ Suppor<ve  work  environments   and  leaders  who   nurture   emerging  leaders   are  rewarded  with  less  turnover.   ‘I’m  looking  to  cement  myself  within  a  company  that  has  true  poten3al’

How$long$Emerging$Leaders$intend$to$stay$with$ their$employers$ 5+$years$




1"2$years$ 0.0%$ 10.0%$ 20.0%$ 30.0%$ 40.0%$ 50.0%$


“Not sure if there are advancement


opportunities and my Over 50%   of   par<cipants   responded   that   they   intend   to   stay   with   their   current   employer   for  less   than  two  years.  Respondents   saying  three  years   (12.1%)   and   four   years   (6%)   did   not   make   up   a   large   propor<on   of   responses.      

work may become repetitious”

Reten%on trends  over  the  last  three  years Looking  over   a  longer   period  of   <me,   the  percentage  intending   to   stay  for   1-­‐2   years   has  grown   substan<ally   year   on  year,   with   under   40%   in   2010,   almost  45%  last  year  and  as  previously  stated  over  50%  this  year.   In   contrast,   those   that   see   their   medium   term   future   with   their   current   employer   seem   to   be   on  the  decline,   demonstrated   by   over   a  quarter   of   respondents   in  2010   dropping  in   2011,  with  con<nua<on  of   that  trend  this   year   with   now   only   18.1%.   However,   those   with   long-­‐term   plans   firmly  


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


Changes(in(Prospec/ve(Time(with(Current(Employer( 40.0%$ 35.0%$ 30.0%$ 25.0%$ 2010$




Long-term employee loyalty can be found in today’s young


10.0%$ 5.0%$ 0.0%$ 1$year$





professionals and that there is plenty an employer can do to generate and sustain this.

established with  their  current  employers  rose  drama<cally  on  last  year  with  a   jump  from   18.1%  to   28.9%,  implying  that  long-­‐term  employee  loyalty  can  be   found   in  today’s  young  professionals  and  that  there  is  plenty  an  employer  can   do  to  generate  and  sustain  this.   Young   professionals   are   becoming   increasingly   decisive;   those   who   are   unhappy   have   shown   intent   to   give   their   employers   only   a   few   years   to   improve   situa<ons,   compared   with   happier   young   professionals   who   have   become   increasingly   confident   in   commiqng   to   one   organisa<on   for   an   extended  period  of   <me.  This  will  please  employers  and  HR  departments  who   can  recognise  the  need  to  be  efficient  in  communica<ng   with  young   staff   to   resolve   issues   quickly.   This   will   result   in   longer-­‐term   sa<sfac<on   and   subsequent  greater  employee  reten<on. Effec-ve  Development How   do   you   best   develop   your   emerging   leaders?     What   are   they   really   looking  for  to  prepare  themselves  for  leadership  roles?   In  the  2012  survey,  respondents  were  asked   to  choose   their   most   preferred   from   five   key   development   strategies   that   had   been   resonant   in   previous   reports.   This   was   designed   to   assist   organisa<ons   priori<se   high   value   development  strategies  for  emerging  leaders.   The  greatest  agreement  was  given  to  ‘Prac-cal  Experience’  with  over  90%     of   respondents  agreeing  and  less  than  4%  disagreeing,  giving   a  combined  total   of  87.3%.   The   second  most  preferred  strategy  was   ‘Shadowing  &   Consulta-on’   with  a   combined  score  of  81.7%,  which   refers  to  observing  others   in  leadership  and   having  access  to  mentoring  and  networking  opportuni-es.  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Current'Methods'of'Leadership'Prepara3on'' used'by'Emerging'Leaders' Further$Educa.on$



“Experience in



leadership roles are



81.7%$$Experience$ 0.0%$

87.3%$ 20.0%$




essential in building confidence and ability”


Thirdly came   ‘Self   Development’   (reading   outside  of   the   workplace)   with   58.8%  and  fourth   was   afending   conferences/workshops   with  52.5%   and   finally  came  ter-ary  educa-on  with  34.8%  combined  agreement.   This   follows   last   year’s   results   which   found   a   similar   trend   –   prac<cal   experience  and  social  learning  ranked   first  and  second,  with  reading  fourth   overall  and  ter<ary  educa<on  fifh.   When   opportuni<es   to   lead   cannot   be   provided,   offering   a   young   professional   further   exposure   to   higher   management   and   leadership   can   easily  be  encouraged  through  an  effec<ve  mentoring  program.   Conferences   and   training   can   be   expensive   for   young   professionals   and   many  can  presented  in  an  uninspiring  and  non-­‐interac<ve  way  that  doesn’t   connect   with   their   younger   par<cipants.     Although   some   examples   are   star<ng   to   emerge   of   dynamic   conferencing   involving   smaller   numbers,   dynamic  and  challenging  group  ac<vi<es  and  greater  emo<onal  connec<on.   Only   (56.3%)   agreed   in   principle   that   ter<ary   educa<on   was   a   preferred   method   of   leadership   development,   being   the   lowest   general   agreement     Yet,   42.6%   of   those  strongly   agreed,   the  highest  strongly  agree   percentage   out  of   any   of   the  factors,   implying   that  those   keen   to   follow   the   ter<ary   educa<on  method  are  very  keen  to  do   so  and  are  more  likely  to   work  hard   for  the  substan<ve  benefits  they  believe  they  stand  to  gain.

“Mentoring is

undervalued in my organisation”

Empowering Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today The  two  most  preferred  ways  of  developing  leadership  in  emerging  leaders,   as  found   in   the  survey,  are  providing  opportuni<es  to   lead  (24.7%)   and  by   providing  training  and  development  (24.1%). Most%preferred%Leadership%Prepara0on%Methods%% for%Emerging%Leaders%in%the%Workplace% Support$from$Colleagues$

“Our company has


quite a flat

promotions within



structure with

opportunities for








our team extremely

24.7%$ 0.0%$

limited. I have




sought our



opportunities to

move across to gain business experience

and the business has been extremely supportive.”

The number   one   method   this   year   was   opportuni-es   to   lead   (24.7%),   con-nuing   their   desire   for   prac-cal   experience.   This   was   very   closely   followed   in   second   by   training   and   development   with   24.1%.   This  follows   last   year’s   results   that   offered   the   same   number   one   method   –   opportuni<es   to   lead.   In   third   came   the   need   for   strong   leadership   examples   from   above   (14.2%),   before   internal   and   external   mentoring   (13.9%  and  13%  respec<vely)  and  finally  support  from  colleagues  (10.1%).   In   comparison  to  last  year’s  findings,  support  from  colleagues  has   dropped   in   value   as   a   way   of   helping   an   Emerging   Leader   succeed   in   leadership.   Furthermore,  whilst   mentoring  appears  to  have  gathered  support  over  the   last  year,  the  most  preferred   methods  are  those   which  have  occupied  our   top  three  spots  two  years  running.   It   is   thought   that   some   businesses  neglect   mentoring   opportuni<es  from   external  par<es  as  they  do  not  see  the  benefits  an  outside  perspec<ve  may   have   on   an   individual   or   team’s   performance.   They   believe   it   beOer   to   manage  from  within,  however  this  does  not  always  allow  for  all  issues  to  be   accounted   for   as   both   par<es   have   a  form   of   vested   interest   within   the   organisa<on.   Furthermore,   employees   may   not   feel   en<rely   comfortable   discussing   key   issues  with  senior   staff   if   they  believe  it  may   damage   their   personal  reputa<on  in  higher  circles.  A  neutral  external  mentor  may  be  able   to   offer   solu<ons   to   both   problems   and   deliver   informed   feedback   to   all   par<es.  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Workplace Incen-ves Understanding   the   workplace   incen<ves   that   are   important   to   emerging   leaders  is  key   in  retaining  them  as  staff.    We  asked  our  survey  respondents   what  they  look  for  in  an  employer,  providing   ten  op<ons  that  offered  a  great   variety  of   choice  to  the  par<cipant.  We  asked  them   to  list  these  answers  in   order  of  preference.   We  found   the  most  important  workplace   quality   to   emerging   leaders   in   our  sample  is  ‘Challenging  Work’,  with  a  score  of  16.2%  when  all  figures  are   taken   into   account   and   total   up   to   100%.   Next   came  ‘Great   Culture   and   Staff’  with  a  score  of   13.8%,  and  comple-ng  the  top  three  was  ‘Work/Life   Balance’  with  11.7%.  In  comparison  to  previous  findings,  our  top  two  have   featured   in  the  top   five  in  both  previous  years,  however  a  good   work/life   balance  appears  to  be   growing  in  importance  to   Emerging  Leaders.  ‘Career   Development’,   first   and   second   placed   respec<vely   in   the   past   years,   dropped   to   fourth   this   year   with   11.4%.   Next   came   ‘Fair   Pay’   (11.0%),   ‘Advancement  Opportuni<es’  (10.6%)  and  ‘Company  Leadership’  (8.5%).  

Our top two

results, challenging work and great culture have

feature in the top five in both

previous years of the survey.

What%Emerging%Leaders%want%from%an%Organisa4on% NonNFinancial$Benefits$












Career$Development$ Work/Life$Balance$ Great$Culture$

11.4%$ 11.7%$



16.2%$ 0.0%$ 2.0%$ 4.0%$ 6.0%$ 8.0%$ 10.0%$ 12.0%$ 14.0%$ 16.0%$ 18.0%$

Financial mo<va<ons   do   not   appear   un<l   fifh   highligh<ng   that   emerging   leaders  highly   value   the   enjoyment   and   mental  s<mula<on  they   get  from   working   above   all   else.   Businesses   should   be   delighted   by   this   result   –   ensuring   ‘Challenging   Work’   for   employees   should   be   possible   for   businesses  in  almost  any  circumstances.  Therefore,  keeping   staff   invigorated   and   absorbed   in   their   du<es   should   be   the   number   one   concern   for   personnel  strategies.   A   ‘Great  Culture’   has   always  rated   highly   in   the   top   incen<ves   that   keep   emerging   leaders  at  a  workplace.    Young  professionals  see  the  workplace  as   an  extension  of   their  social  network,  therefore  placing  a  greater  priority  on   workplace  dynamics  in  their  decisions  on  whether   to  stay  or  not.  In  previous   surveys,  a  ‘Great  Culture’  has  been  described  by  respondents  as:


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


“Good people  to  work  with.  A  great  vision  too” “If   your   work   colleagues   are   people   you   get   along   with   certainly   makes   working   life  easier  as  well  as  helping  to  ease   frustra3ons  we  may  have  from   management” “A  good  corporate  culture  -­‐  a  company  that  cares  for  it’s  employees” Trends  across  the  last  three  years

‘Challenging Work’

Looking at   the  top   five   incen<ves  from   across   all   three   years  shows   that   Emerging  Leaders   have  their  eyes   firmly  set  on  their  careers  and  less  so  on   their   personal   gain.   ‘Challenging   Work’   and   ‘Career   Development’   have   remained  very  important  and   been  joined  by  ‘Great  Culture’  as  being   the   top  incen-ves   and  expecta-ons  of  the  workplace.  In  further  comparison  to   previous  years,  ‘Fair  Pay’  has  remained  an  important  if  not  top  level  priority   with   back-­‐to-­‐back   fifh   best   overall   posi<ons,   sugges<ng   that   par<cipants   expect  this  to  be  fair  without  having  to  priori<se  it.  

and ‘Career

Top 5  Incen%ves  2010  -­‐  2012

Development’ have 2010

remained very important and been




Challenging Work

Career Development

Challenging Work


Career Development

Great Culture/Staff

Great Culture/Staff

top incentives and


Fair Pay


Work/Life Balance

expectations of the



Advancement Opportuni<es

Career Development


Great Culture/Staff

Fair Pay

Fair Pay

joined by ‘Great Culture’ as being the


*These choices   were   not   available   to   respondents  in  the  2012  Survey  as  they   were  deemed   repe<<ve.

Knowing what   employees   expect   from   your   organisa<on   is   integral   in   retaining   your   workforce.   However,   a   similarly   important   aspect   of   maintaining  employer  morale  and  high  employee  reten<on  in  the  long  term   is  understanding  the  reasons  why  they  choose  to  come  to  work  every  day.   We  asked  emerging   leaders  to  rank   a  number  of  diverse  mo<va<onal  drivers   from   one  to  six   to   really  understand  what  deep,  underlying  desires   exist  in   today’s  emerging  leaders.

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Career Mo-va-onal  Drivers These  results  were  generally  very  close  and  our  responses  saw   results  for  all   possible   answers   averaging   between   3   and   4,   confirming   that   none   are   heavily   more   important   than   any   other.   The   highest   overall   was   the   Emerging   Leader’s   Lifestyle   (averaging   3.15),   closely   followed   by   their   Development   (3.35)   and   Self   Esteem   (3.39).   Next   up   came   Financial   mo<va<ons   (3.49),   Altruis<c   mo<va<ons   (3.64)   and   finally   Rela<onships   (3.97).  

“I’m struggling with a specific plan to

achieve my career goals. I would really appreciate

mentoring or advice


but not sure where to get it”

Rela=onships" Altruis=c" Financial" Self"Esteem" Development" Lifestyle" 1"





We can  acknowledge  that  lifestyle  came  out  on  top,  which  follows  up  other   data  telling  us  that  young  professionals  desire  a  beOer   work/life  balance  –   there  is  a  link  between  these  two  sta<s<cs.  

“The older I get, the

Furthermore, that   the   financial   mo<vator   only   turns  up   fourth   out   of   six   gives   further   jus<fica<on   to   the   claim   that   Emerging   Leaders   are   less   mo<vated  by  money.  As  we  can  see,  ‘development’   and   ‘self-­‐esteem’   came   second  and   third  respec<vely  which  adds  to  the  general  principle  previously   noted  that  Emerging  Leaders  have   a  focus  on  their   careers  and  maximising   their  poten<al  in  the  workplace.

position. I don’t

less I want to be in a very senior

want to deal with the politics and I

want to make sure I

actually have time to make a difference to my workplace and community”


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


Conclusion and  Recommenda-ons

“Many companies

believe they have a

great program for

mentoring staff and preparing them for leadership however in practice it does

not work. I believe that companies do require external

help to not only set up leadership

programs but to

also monitor them

and make sure they

are done correctly”.

This report   highlights,   for   the   third   year   in   a   row,   the   expecta<ons   and   challenges  faced   by   young   emerging   leaders   in   the  workplace.     It   offers   guidance   when   designing   workplace   culture,   incen<ves  and   opportuni<es   to   overcome   the  difficul<es   that   send  young  professionals  out  the   door   to   look  for  opportuni<es  elsewhere.   What   is   recognised   in   this  report   and   in   previous  years,   there   is   a   great   amount   of  enthusiasm  and  commitment  by  emerging  leaders   to  give  fully   to   their   workplace   and   if   this   is   harnessed,   can   be   a   great   compe--ve   edge  for   employers.   Younger   professionals   are  highly   educated   and   seek   opportuni<es   to   further   develop   themselves   through   challenging   work,   mentors  and  advanced  training.    These  strategies  are  more  than  enough  to   keep  emerging  leaders  loyal  to  your  organisa<on.   Here  are  our  recommenda<ons  from  the  survey  results  this  year.     1. Young   professionals  believe  that  the  greatest   challenge  facing   them   is   being  given  diverse   opportuni-es   for   professional   development.   30%   of  our  respondents  directly   addressed  this  as  an  issue  and  believe  that   they   are   not   rewarded   with   opportuni<es   reflec<ve   of   their   efforts.   Furthermore,   if   opportuni<es   to   lead   are   unavailable,   young   professionals  expect  there  to  be  training   schemes  in  place   so  that  their   professional  development  doesn’t  suffer.

What to   do?       We   recommend   an   emerging   leaders   program   that   gives   emerging  leaders  the  opportunity  to  learn,  share  and   prac<ce  skills  in  a  safe   environment.     This  type  of   program   may   include  shadowing  senior  leaders   to  provide  them   with   further   experience   and   insight  in   the   business.     Be   aware  of  external  opportuni<es  to  your  business  that  can  be  recommended   to   employees   such   as   networking   events,   conferences   and   mentoring   programs  as  these  can  be  rewards  for  outstanding  efforts.    

2. Young professionals   in   leadership  posi-ons   cited  managing   others   as   their   greatest   challenge.   Emerging   leaders   cited   both   leadership   challenges  as  well  as  the  challenge  of  managing  staff  who  are  older  than   themselves  as  demanding.  

What to   do?   Host   discussions   for   new   managers   to   communicate   the   common   challenges   when   leading   their   team   such   as   inspiring   a   shared   vision,   balancing   leadership   and   friendship,   fostering   mo<va<on   and   building  credibility.  This  support  will  nurture  their  leadership  abili<es.

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




3. Figures from   this   year   suggest   that   a   trend   of   short-­‐termism   may   be   infiltra<ng   young   professionals   with   over   50%   intending   to   stay   with   their  current  employee  for   only  two  years  or  less.  On  the  other  hand,  a   growing  trend  for   young  professionals   commi_ng   to  an  organisa-on   for  over  five  years   shows  the   other   side  of   this.  What  can  be  made  of   this?   Young   professionals   are   becoming   increasingly   decisive   in   their   ac<on;  if  they’re  not  happy,  they’re  less  prepared  to  hang   around  to  see   if  anything  improves.  

“In most

workplaces, the

emphasis of training is always on

graduates and

What to  do?   To  ensure  that   your   young   professionals  don’t  start  jumping   ship,   iden<fy   high   poten<al   emerging   leaders   and   conduct   quarterly   professional  development  plans  that   include  monthly   reviews,  an   emerging   leaders  program  and  regular  mentoring.  This  will  ensure  that  organisa<ons   to  adjust  strategies  for  the  individual  through  this  regular  communica<on.  

senior management and forget

everyone else in between”

4. Results from   several   ques<ons   emphasised   the   importance   of   con-nuing   to   offer   employees   challenging   work   and   mental   s-mula-on.   This   was   recorded   as   the   highest   career   goal   for   our   Emerging   Leaders   and   as   such   should   be   an   absolute   priority   for   businesses.    U<lise  this  ambi<on  and  harness  it  in  your  workplace.  

What to   do?   Fostering   variety   in   the   workplace   increases   in   mental   s<mula<on   and   can  be   achieved   by   implemen<ng   work   rota<ons  so   that   the   distribu<on  of   work  can   be   seen   as  fair.  Employees  are   more  likely   to   put  up  with  s<nts  of   less  s<mula<ng  work  if  they  know  they  are  soon  to  be   in   line   for   jobs   and   projects   that   are   perceived   as   more   s<mula<ng.     Develop   champion   roles   to   assess   and   recommend   strategies   for   work   projects,  workplace  culture  or  based  on  the  interests  of   the  employee.  For   example,   designing   a   volunteer   program,   coordina<ng   social   media   or   designing  professional  development  plans.  

5. Beyond challenging  work,  other  key  factors  that  scored  highly   were  an   afrac-ve   organisa-onal   culture   and   work/life   balance.     As   young   professionals   enter   the   workforce,   they   bring   with   them   their   concep<ons   about   an   ideal   work   life.   This   includes   flexible   working   arrangements,   allowing   them   to   achieve   a  number  of   priori<es   in   life   such  as  travel  and  volunteering.   In  order  to  achieve  this,   they   will  need   to   feel   comfortable   within   the   culture   and   feel   that   this   fits   their   character,  both  personally  and  professionally.


   Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today    


What to  do?    Ensure  ample  <me  is  given  to  discussing  the  workplace  values   and  culture  within  your  organisa<on  as  well  as  how  they  are  put  into  ac<on.     Emerging   leaders   look   towards   senior   leadership   to   role   model   the   preferred   values   and   culture   of   the   organisa<on.   Use   this   report   as   a   catalyst   to   discuss   what   is   preferred   work   culture   for   employees   and   brainstorm  how  this  can  be  put  into  ac<on  straight  away.  

6. Iden-fy interna-onal   opportuni-es   for   emerging   leaders   who   are   keen   to   stay   with   the   organisa-on.   A   trend   towards   incorpora<ng   overseas   travel   into   employment   opens   many   opportuni<es   to   businesses   for   increased   interna<onalisa<on.   Almost   four   in   five   par<cipants   agreed   they   wanted   to   incorporate   overseas   travel   into   their   career.   Opportuni<es   might   include   fostering   partnerships   with   overseas   organisa<ons   to   share   knowledge,   gain   new   markets   or   generate  more  value  from  suppliers.  Businesses  should  take  advantage   of   the   flexibility   of   today’s   workforce;   those   that   can’t   might   see   ambi<ous  young   professionals  leave  to  realise  these  dreams  with   rival   organisa<ons.  

“The workplace

needs to create an

open and supportive

What to   do?   As   well   as   implement   strategies   outlined   above   that   help   young   professionals  to  understand   the  direc<on   their   career   pathway,  it  is   important  to  hold  regular  consulta<on  mee<ngs  to  share  concerns  or   hopes   for  what   might  be  achieved  in  the  future  differently.  Furthermore,   look   to   establish   flexible   working   arrangements   with   employees  so   that   they   can   tune   their   work   life   to   suit   their   personal   lives,   therefore   maintaining   sa<sfac<on  and  loyalty.

environment for

emerging leaders not just spout rhetoric.”

7. It is  vital  to  lead  a  suppor-ve  and  encouraging  environment  that   iden<fies  and  nurtures  the  strengths  of  your  diverse  workforce.    Many   young  professionals  have  expressed  the  concern  that  their  work  is  not     judged  on  their  merits  and  is  ofen  influenced  by  what  others  think  they   should  be  capable  of  given  their  age  or  rela<ve  experience.    

What to  do?        Develop  a  strengths  map  detailing  the  unique  strengths,   including  knowledge,  experience  and  skills,  that  team  members  possess.       Workplace  teams  should  focus  on  u<lising  the  talents  that  team  members   possess  to  gain  the  best  work  outcomes.      Proper  feedback  mechanisms  can   then  work  with  emerging  leaders  to  iden<fy  areas  of  fatal  flaws  that  could   bring  them  down.  

Empowering  Tomorrow’s  Leaders  Today  




Need help  implemen-ng  these  ideas? Alicia   Cur<s   can   help   your   organisa<on   effec<vely   implement   the  recommenda<ons  in   this  report  from   facilita<ng   focus   groups   to   developing   e-­‐mags   or   videos   for   or   with   your   young   staff.   As   an   example   Alicia  regularly  provides  the  following  services:   1.  Emerging  Leaders  Programs Alicia   can   develop   and   facilitate   a   customised   leadership   development   program   for   your   young   professionals.   The   basis   is   eight   workshops,   all   of   which   have   been   developed   from   the   unique   challenges   facing   young   professionals   in   the   workplace,   then   the   program   can   include   other   ac<vi<es   such   as   excursions,   showcases,   speakers,   prac<cal  challenges  and  more.   2.  Mee-ng  of  the  Minds Bring   together   eight   young   professionals   to   foster   and   mentor   at   a   monthly   Mee<ng  of  the  Minds.    These  sessions  are  unlike  any  normal  workshop,  they  focus   on   the   individual   workplace   challenges   of   par<cipants   and   provide   monthly   accountability  on  their  professional  goals  in   a   safe  environment.    Mee<ng   of   the   Minds  are  three  hours  long  and  run  monthly.    They  challenge  par<cipants  to  share   their   goals,   overcome   their   workplace   challenges   and   review   their   learning   and   development  plans.   3. Management  Presenta-ons Alicia   can   present   the   findings   of   this   report   to   your   senior   management   and   facilitate  a   think  tank  session   to   gather  the  strategies  to  ignite  the  high   poten<al   employees  in  your  organisa<on.   4. Join  Emergen     Alicia  is  the  founder  of   Emergen,   a  collabora<ve  online   community  for   emerging   leaders.   Encourage   your   young   professionals   to   register   for   Emergen   -­‐  for  a  wide  range  of  resources,  events  and  opportuni<es.     Alicia  can   provide   all   these   AND   MORE.   Contact   Alicia  to   start  the   conversa<on   about  how  to  engage  your  emerging  leaders.   Contact:   Alicia  Cur<s  -­‐  0413  565  338  or  alicia@aliciacur<

aliciacurtis P.O Box  7273,  Karawara  WA  6152 +  61  8  9313  2880 alicia@aliciacur< www.aliciacur<  

Emerging Leaders Report 2012  
Emerging Leaders Report 2012  

Third annual report on Emerging Leaders in Australia. Author, Alicia Curtis ( is one of Australia's most experienced m...