The Looming Leadership Shortage by Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

Executives all the way up to CEOs are expressing concerns about the looming leadership shortage in the U.S. and around the globe. Because this shortage will no doubt hinder business growth, companies are in hot pursuit of professionals who demonstrate leadership potential at a greater rate. They are also willing to invest more resources in leadership programs. In fact, a recent survey conducted by The Conference Board and Right Management (talent, career and management experts), indicates that businesses plan to spend 37% more on leadership programs in 2014 than in 2013.

But how does a company identify potential leaders? What are the skills, values, beliefs and attitudes that would make an individual a good or great leader? Consultant and author, Robert H. Rosen, in his book, “Leading People,” has identified eight principles of successful leaders:

The ability to share a dream and direction that inspires others to follow.

Without trust, vision can’t happen. Therefore, a leader must walk the talk in order for people to give up what they know and venture into the unknown.


A true leader can unleash the potential in others and get the best from them as they work to accomplish company initiatives.


Leaders have a thirst for continuous training. Subsequently, applying this knowledge creates real customer value.


Leaders respect diversity and a multicultural world. They have a deep appreciation for people’s differences and as a result, are able to cultivate far more committed employees.


Innovation and creativity are essential elements to building a successful company. Therefore, leaders need to express original ideas and ingenuity to motivate and inspire others to follow suit.


The hallmark of a good leader is honesty, integrity and morality. We need leaders who have a deep sense of purpose and are true to their core values.


Today’s leaders need to be measured over and above the success of the company. They need to do for others and show involvement in their community.

Now that we know the principles of what makes for a successful leader, what types of training programs are organizations investing in? Today’s leadership training programs extend well beyond traditional classroom instructor-led activities and more resources are being allocated to a full spectrum of leadership learning initiatives. Programs are plentiful ( 2014 Top 20 Leadership Training Companies) and offer a wide variety of types of leadership training programs including the following just to name a few:

Coaching:  Often senior managers will serve as coaches to develop the capabilities of high-potential performers and help them achieve explicit workplace objectives and goals. Coaches have a vested interest in improving specific skills and interpersonal relationships that pertain to specific jobs because it impacts the company’s bottom line.

Action learning initiatives such as business challenges and simulations: Action initiatives enable trainees to jump right into the real world of upper management. Most business simulations are used for business acumen training and development. Learning objectives include: strategic thinking, financial analysis, market analysis, operations, teamwork and leadership.

Critical thinking & cognitive ability assessments:  Administering these types of assessments will measure the learning capacity as well as the problem solving and decision making ability of an individual.

Bottom line is that the demand for quality leadership in the U.S. and around the world is expected to far outpace the supply and that means organizations will find themselves in a precarious situation very soon. That means it is imperative that your organization first identify potential leaders and implement new and effective leadership training programs in order to stay competitive and improve the performance of your people and your company.