Building the talent pipeline for future leaders.

Author:Freedman, Elizabeth

Last year marked a milestone that went relatively unnoticed: the first of the baby boomers that were born in 1946 hit the retirement age of 65. And this is just the beginning as 80 million boomers prepare to retire over the next five to seven years.

As corporate America prepares to ready current and future leaders for the new realities of today's businesses, the magic word in talent development is "yet." Right now, those new and emerging leaders who lack many essential skills that they will need to lead an organization through complex challenges are just not ready - yet.

Many of those future leaders can be developed. Leadership skills may come more readily to some than others; and the news is that there is no such thing as a born leader.

The skills and qualities that lead to promotions are often quite different from those that a leader needs to be successful. The process of becoming a talented leader requires time, experience, hard work and, quite often, expert assistance from a met tor or coach.

The upshot is that many employers have a nagging sense that their rising leader! aren't really prepared for the next step.

Why Emerging Leaden Aren't Ready

Four reasons illustrate why leaders are not yet ready: 1. All parties underrate the difficulty of making the transition from functional manager to enterprise-oriented leader. Rising leaders often get a well-deserved reputation for being smart, driven doers. Therefore, senior leaders assume that they will figure things out as they rise.

What's overlooked - both by senior leaders as well as those they're promoting - is just how different a skillset is needed to become an effective high-level leader.

Suddenly, the individual must be a powerful communicator who can connect with internal and external audiences. He or she has to abandon their narrow functional mindset, delegate effectively and become a big-picture thinker.

This leader must also be able to manage a calendar and an onslaught of email - both of which threaten to drown one in minutiae. No matter how smart and driven the individual, it's possible to be overwhelmed and under-prepared for these demands.

  1. Leaders fail to see the need to 'slow down to speed up.' Most leaders know that they need to get better at some elements of their job - or that members of their team have developmental needs that should be addressed. Yet, these issues often get over-looked because of the perception that there's no time to do anything about it.

    Here's where leaders need to...

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