Despite the continuous news stories about high unemployment in the United States, there are some areas where employers are actually seeing a skills shortage in the workplace. Executives across a number of different industries are especially having trouble finding capable leaders. A recent survey asked executives about the biggest human resources problems affecting their industry and 31% said that there is a lack of high-potential leaders working within the organization, while an additional 19% said that there is a high rate of defection among top talent. Organizations can continue to post listings on job sites or try to make large offers to leaders at competing firms, or they can invest in current employees so that lower-level employees will be more capable of stepping into leadership roles and so that higher-level employees will be less likely to defect to another organization. The business can accomplish these goals by providing management training for lower-level employees and leadership development for current leaders.
Leadership development is a process that aims to improve the leadership qualities of current high-level employees within the organization. Companies have many different methods for completing this task, with some identifying talented employees with leadership potential and paying for these individuals to go back to school and acquire a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Other organizations provide management training for these high-potential employees. This training focuses on teaching or growing three skills that all leaders possess. These three skills are experiential learning, self-efficacy, and vision.
There are four stages of experiential learning: concrete experience, observation and reflection, forming abstract concepts, and testing in new situations. Individuals must be able to learn from each of these four stages, so management training helps employees become more comfortable with learning stages where they lack experience.
This term is defined as the individual’s belief or trust in his or her own abilities. A confident leader is seen as more authoritative, which makes it easier for others to buy into what he or she is saying. Management training improves employee self-efficacy.
It sounds obvious, but a leader’s number one job is to lead. When he or she is able to form a vision of how the company should look in the future, the leader can then determine what others need to do in order to make this vision a reality.
If a company is pleased with the leaders that it has in place and wants to keep them from leaving for another firm the second they get an offer, the company should invest in leadership development. Individuals are more loyal to organizations that demonstrate that they care about whether an employee is successful. Employees are in turn more loyal to companies that have invested in their success. Leadership development helps individuals reach their full potential by helping to sharpen leadership skills or think critically.
As baby boomers retire and it becomes even more difficult for companies to find qualified leaders to replace retiring workers, companies should ensure the company continues to be successful in the future by investing in leadership development for current leaders and management training for future leaders.