U.S. workers are leaving the workforce in record numbers. Topping the chart of this workforce exodus are the baby boomers, many of whom are in top leadership positions. The third quarter of 2020 saw 3.2 million more baby boomers retire than in the third quarter of 2019. Certainly, the pandemic has played a role, but only as an accelerator to what was already an ongoing challenge.
Filling the leadership void requires the answer to two critical questions
- Who will seize the opportunity to fill the multitude of vacant leadership positions?
Will it be you?
- Who in leadership today will recognize that in order to fill the void, they will need to identify and address the needs of the next generation of leaders?
Will it be you?
If you are an emerging leader, here’s why today’s unique leadership opportunities should matter to you.
The Greatest Opportunity
Today’s leadership void has provided the opportunity for you to move into an executive position sooner than you thought possible. Companies of all sizes and industries are seeking strong leaders. Make yourself known.
Leaders Are Made
Leaders are made not born. Decide to be a leader, then become one.
Leadership Is The Differentiator
Once you have embraced the leader in you, unexpected opportunities will come forward. Seize them.
Leadership Is a Gift
There’s no doubt leadership is hard work, but it is also a gift that allows you to make your dreams come true. Make it happen.
The Multiplier Effect
When you instill and inspire leadership in others, you are creating multiple waves of success that ripple out and impact the greater world. Do better. Be better.
Now, do your homework: build your skills, research companies to find the ones that align with your values, be confident in your approach, be willing to work hard, and land your dream job.
If you are a senior leader seeking new leaders, take time to re-evaluate the type of leaders you want and how to attract them. Here are two areas to focus on.
If you want strong, committed leaders, you must offer ongoing leadership development. Seems like common sense, right? And yet, the offering of leadership training is on the decline.
According to 2,000 HR executives and 15,000 organizational leaders included in DDI’s Leadership Transitions Report 2021, 61 percent of leaders received leadership skills training prior to mid-2019. By mid-to-late 2019, only 52 percent of leaders reported receiving leadership skills training (which means the decline began prior to the pandemic). In 2020, less than 50 percent of leaders reported receiving leadership skills training.
Leadership development isn’t only about offering formal training. It’s also about providing people the resources they need to do their job, coaching people up, offering mentoring programs, and making sure everyone knows their voice is valued. While the here and now demands our attention, so should the future.
Take action today to build your leadership team of tomorrow.
Meet Shifting Needs
What people valued in the workplace in the 1980s, 1990s, and even the 2000s isn’t the same as what they value in 2023. Today, the influx of younger leaders on the heels of the great resignation and the increasingly diverse work opportunities brought about by advanced technologies and most recently, the pandemic, have ushered in a new set of workplace values. Senior leadership must acknowledge these values and address them if they are going to recruit the individuals who will lead their companies into the future.
While there is not a one-size-fits-all list of current leadership shifts, two common shifts identified by Emily Field, associate partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, are:
- Empowerment: If you want to foster leadership, you must empower people to lead. Step back and assess when you should take the reins and when you can hand the reins over to other capable hands.
- Decision-making: With empowerment comes decision-making. The need to quickly adapt to the evolving crisis of the pandemic forced leaders to trust others to make decisions they normally made. That practice must continue to grow.
Both of these shifts bring us back to leadership development. Existing leaders, develop your emerging leaders with intention and they will be empowered to make decisions and help lead your company into the future. Emerging leaders, seek out companies that offer a strong leadership development program and take full advantage of it.