Leadership is essential to every single business undertaking. And there is a shortage of good leaders. Furthermore, the failure rate for leaders in America’s businesses is at the almost unbelievable level of over of 50%. Why is it that leadership which has been studied for hundreds of years cannot be more sustainable than this? They have been thousands of books and probably millions of articles written about leadership and yet we can’t seem to get it right.
Population and educational statistics tell us that in the next fifteen years there will be a shortage of qualified people for many jobs. The problem will be with you soon if your organization does not have a good track record for growing talent. This will leave you with a shortage of frontline staff and ultimately a shortage at leadership levels. Given the current level of leadership failure, it should be clear that all organizations should consider installing programs to create leaders from their ranks.
It has been said that success in the future belongs to those organizations that have innovative methods of recruitment and retention. But there is an opposing point of view which states that there is no shortage of potential leaders and they already exist in all organizations. They will only thrive if, they in turn, are given effective leadership models.
To grow leaders it will be necessary to increase the opportunity for them to practice. There is plenty of research to confirm that the development of expertise is a function of deliberate and guided practice. It’s not about trying to find born leaders because 96% of any expertise can be attributed to practice alone.
The key to developing leaders is to identify the behaviors that are critical to any job function and provide guided practice of those behaviors. In providing guided practice for these latent leaders, if you think that they will fail, you will be right. By the same token, if you think they can succeed, and you provide frequent positive reinforcement they will provide a level of performance that may surprise you.
Most organizations have all the talent they require, they just don’t have the programs to develop the talent from within. Followers will develop their potential when they are working with effective leaders. They get exposed to more examples of good leadership, how positive reinforcement works, and the rewards of success through personal experiences. Effective leaders stick out because they have larger numbers of successful followers.
The challenge to current leaders is this, “What are you doing to grow leaders in your business?”
By Alexis Dean