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Effective leadership the key to staff retention and attraction


Employee satisfaction hinges on the quality of management, according to the Evolution of Leadership Report 2022

By Josh Needs 10 minute read

Effective, quality leadership is the predominant factor in attracting and retaining talent, according to the inaugural Evolution of Leadership Report 2022.

The report, launched this week by the Access Group and HR Leader, is based on a survey of over 1,000 professionals across a range of industries and company sizes.

They were asked about the key factors in employee satisfaction to see if the phrase “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers” was increasingly true.

By correlating each participant’s overall satisfaction with their company, the survey found quality of leadership was number one, returning a correlation coefficient of 0.76 ahead of workplace culture at 0.73 and remuneration at 0.61.

The report also examined what makes a good leader and if leadership is a skill that people are born with or can be learnt.

“It’s the age-old question: are leaders born or bred? Or is it a mix of both? Most of our report respondents think it’s a mix,” said HR Leader’s editor, Shandel McAuliffe.

Of those surveyed almost three in four — 72 per cent — believed successful leadership is a mix of an inherent trait and a is skill that can be learnt, while 2 per cent indicated that to be an effective leader you must be born with it.

The report said that this outcome showed the need for greater investment by businesses in developing leaders to help expand their skills so they could play a role in raising workplace satisfaction.

Talent and capability specialist Meredith Collins said “They’ve got to care enough to want to be better.”

“I’ve been privileged to work around the world with all sorts of people from different backgrounds,” she said. “And the people that actually do and become better leaders are the ones that can be bothered and are willing to do the uncomfortable work of making the change.”

Good communication was found to be the greatest skill for a leader with 62 per cent of respondents prioritising it ahead of the ability to inspire employees with 15 per cent and vision at 9 per cent.

“We hear it time and again, employees want clear communication from their leaders about the things that matter to them,” said Ms McAuliffe.

“This has never been more true than during the uncertainty of the last two years.”

“If leaders aren’t natural communicators, developing skills in this area needs to be a top priority.”

HR director at the Access Group John Maley said that his company believed leadership was for everyone in different ways.

“We see everyone as having some responsibility for leadership,” said Mr Maley.

“For individual contributors it may be about how they show up for work, how they manage an individual client query, how they take ownership of a problem etc — but we think that leadership is for everyone.”

The full report, which contains insights from the Access Group, newly minted HR and leadership brand HR Leader, and leadership and workplace relations specialists can be found here.


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Josh Needs

Josh Needs


Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

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