Leadership Gap: How to Identify and Develop Your Future Business Leaders
Take a look at your leadership team. Do you notice a leadership gap in any of these areas: deficiency of needed leadership skill sets, shortage of leadership candidates, lack of leadership diversity?
The absence of strong leadership in business can be a real challenge, especially in times of disruption, like we’re experiencing now.
Recently, Harvard researchers interviewed 47 senior talent and learning leaders from across the globe. They found that leading effectively in such a disrupted environment requires a specific combination of leadership capabilities. Some leaders have stepped up; others have faltered. As a result, three pivotal leadership clusters have emerged: cultivating trust, reskilling opportunity, and leading through uncertainty.
Where to Find Next-Gen Leaders Who Can Fill the Leadership Gap
Fortunately, there are many young, strong leaders entering the workforce today who possess these important skillsets, and they are primarily coming from two places:
Military: Our military veterans have received some of the best leadership training one can receive in this country. These men and women, especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are an excellent example of where leadership skills are tested early and often. And they have learned how to take decisive action in chaos and build trust within their teams.
Entrepreneurs: Risk-taking entrepreneurs, some of whom are not college graduates, often carry the true marks of leadership. They have a vision. They likely have experienced failures, but those who recognize and have learned from their mistakes often have the skills to lead. They are agile and tend to create an environment favorable to growth.
How to Cultivate Leadership in Your Current Team
What about those currently in management and executive positions who are trying to improve the leadership within their team, their department, or their company?
Know what you stand for. This cannot be stressed enough. Consumers are young workers seeking principled companies with values. If you stand for being the cheapest in price, then say so. If being the highest in product quality is it, then market that mission clearly. If creating an atmosphere or “feel” is what you are after, make decisions that support it. If you do not know what you stand for, or if you betray those values with how you run your business, you will lose workers and clients. Yet, it is surprising how few companies truly have and support a strategic plan of value-based principles and goals that gets fully implemented.
Walk your talk. We know this in life—we trust and respect people who do what they promise they will do. This trust has taken a huge hit in business in the last decade or so, with executive pay exploding and others often being left behind. Within the organization, staff members hear what the leadership team is doing and/or getting, and if they believe them to be just “talking the talk,” they lose respect and, ultimately, morale dissipates. The best leaders lead by example.
For more leadership tips, get my eBook How to Turn Disruption into Opportunity: A Leader’s Playbook. It’s now available in the Kindle Store. You’ll also receive a free companion Implementation Guide to help you put your plan into action!