AJO Blog

Primary tabs

Leadership Gaps & Doing More With Less


March 24th, 2011

- Updated on

June 14, 2018 - 10:41am

Continuing our series on top trends in coaching, team and leadership development, we report this time on the shortfall in leadership skills among emerging leaders which is exacerbated by the need to get more done with fewer resources. Click here for Trends 2 & 3: Executive Coaching for Growth & Development

Trend 4: Gaps in leader availability and skill level are increasing

What AJO Is Seeing:

Companies are looking externally for development solutions targeted at managing people effectively. This is reflected in a 40% increase in our Team and Leadership Development business in 2010. Several trends are converging to impact leadership development needs:

  • Boomer leaders are retiring
  • Economics is driving more promotion from within; younger and technical leaders are emerging
  • Companies have allocated their training spend to technical skills development

Trend 5: Doing more with less

We've seen significant refocusing and realigning of workforces resulting from one of the toughest recessions in most people's working experience. Coaching and developmental demands have increased in the areas of time, energy, stress, change, relationship, and virtual management. Individuals, teams, and organizations can significantly increase their capacity to get things done…with new “know how.”

AJO's work within the hospitality industry is an example of renewed interest in leadership skills development. One skill set that has attracted interest is the development of strategic leadership skills. See our Becoming a Strategic Leader post. New “know how” themes that we are supporting include developing innovative cultures and innovation processes, as well as managing one’s energy rather than one’s time. We share more on energy management in a separate posting.

What Others Are Reporting:

We found some interesting (although not surprising) results from three viewpoints - those looking to hire talent, those responsible for developing talent and those holding leadership roles within their organizations. 

  1. Challenges in Sourcing Six-Figure Talent: Aberdeen Group (Jan 2011) studied 400 organizations and highlighted the difficulty organizations are experiencing in sourcing key roles. They cited lack of candidates with leadership skills/succession potential (47%) and lack of experienced candidates in the talent market (44%) as some of the key challenges.
  2. Learning & Development Spending & Staffing Trends: In a Bersin & Workforce Management webcast (Jan 2011), Bersin shared trends from its 2010 study of 748 U.S. organizations. Leadership development spending represented the top spending category, consuming 22% of total training budgets. This reflects an increase in leadership development and succession planning post-recession. The question of knowledge transfer from retiring baby boomers was raised during the Q&A.
  3. Finding the First Rung - Why are new frontline leaders struggling in their jobs?: This view from the trenches is a must read. Interestingly,  this DDI study was conducted at the same time as Bersin’s study mentioned above (August 2010). Only 11% of 1,130 frontline managers surveyed were groomed for leadership roles by their organizations and not surprisingly, more than one-third (35%) regretted being promoted.

    "......across the board, managers who said they don’t fully understand what it takes to succeed rated the critical competencies 12-17 percent lower than those who said they knew the job."

  4. Most New Managers Are Clueless About What It Takes to be Successful: A great blog post in which Dan shares highlights from, and adds his commentary to the DDI study referenced above. Input from readers at the end of the blog is worth reading too.