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How Do You Solve The Problem Of Leadership Talent Shortage

Many organisations are facing a talent shortage at the leadership level and as per a report by talent assessment firm Mercer|Mettl


Eight out of 10 organizations are currently facing a leadership talent shortage, according to a recent survey report. While most organizations struggle to develop a team of effective leaders, those that do manage to create strong leadership face the risk of attrition.

This is on account of the present leaders either being baby boomers (around 50%) on the verge of retiring or millennial who prefer to change jobs frequently, the report titled ‘Leadership Development Trends 2019’, Mercer|Mettl said.

One of the most prominent challenges with their leadership development process is that 30% of organizations also highlighted the inability or the reluctance of their senior management to recognize it as a critical business imperative.

For instance, around 25% of respondents reported the long duration of leadership development programs as the critical challenge in achieving the optimal ROI. Nearly a quarter (22%) considered the high associated costs as a major issue.

A good number (42%) of respondents revealed that they lack a sustainable leadership competency framework to build their leadership development programs. Some organizations (23%) also pointed to the lack of a competency-based leadership development process as the primary cause behind inefficient of such programs.

Leadership development work in progress

The survey, comprising over 500 respondents from more than 200 organizations, mapped key leadership practices followed by organizations across industries including AI and Machine Learning, IT/ITeS, telecom, education, retail, media and entertainment, automobiles, pharma and healthcare, BFSI, manufacturing among others.

The report highlights some interesting trends which shows companies are following a pattern in mapping their key leadership practices.
  • 49% of organizations treat upskilling and reskilling of their new and existing leaders as the primary objective of their leadership development programs.
  • 31% of the respondents use leadership development to create a robust internal succession pipeline.
  • Around one-fifth (20%) use it to identify individuals with excellent leadership skills.
  • 23% of organizations focus on enabling leaders to become key drivers of business growth.
  • Around 18% of organizations use it to enhance the interpersonal and behavioral skills of the participants, to help them to become more effective leaders.
Building leaders: Time to make a difference

The implementation of competency-based leadership development emerged as the dominant best practice. And organizations are currently using to create great leaders and maintain the leadership success rate.

  • The report also highlights some of the key attributes that organizations believe good leaders must possess.
  • As per 23% of the respondents, the ability to drive business growth is the hallmark of a successful leader.
  • 18% of organizations posited the ability to lead people and the ability to align personal vision with the organizational objective as the must-have qualities in a leader.
  • Further, 16% believed that good leaders are effective change drivers, while 14% believed that they encourage ethical and environmentally sustainable management practices.
  • More than one-tenth (11%) of surveyed organizations identified successful leaders as those who possess the ability to negotiate and build partnerships.

Speaking on the survey, Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer | Mettl , said: “A number of leadership development experts have informed the findings of our ‘Leadership Development Trends 2019’ report. Through this report, our aim is to underscore the challenges faced by organizations, as well as the best practices that can help them make a difference.”

“These insights will enable both established and up-and-coming companies to identify and resolve leadership challenges. Moreover, they will be able to adopt relevant best practices to excel in the corporate world. We are confident that our latest report will help Indian businesses implement measures that can ensure the success of their leadership and the organization at large,” he added.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com