Leaders face leadership crisis

A survey by the CIPD has suggested that six in 10 leaders are worried the next generation aren't getting the right training.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 08 Sep 2011
What makes a great leader? It’s a slippery thing to define – but what’s for sure is that organisations which put the effort into shaping employees into the next generation’s Steve Jobs or Sir Terry Leahy are heavily rewarded. The bad news, though, is that a survey has indicated that the UK’s leaders aren’t particularly impressed with the work their own companies are putting into developing their next generation of managers. According to figures by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, just four in 10 leaders think the measures their company has put in place to coax out their employees’ inner CEO is ‘highly effective’ – which means six in 10 don’t.

What’s even more worrying is that the survey of 367 leaders found that two in 10 actually think the leadership development programmes in their company are downright ineffective. (Considering they’re the people in charge of their companies, MT does wonder why they don’t do anything to sort it out). Even more befuddlingly, a third of leaders apparently rate the quality of leadership in their own organisation as ‘high’. Which means two-thirds don’t. Takes self-deprecation to a whole new level, really, doesn’t it?

Extreme modesty aside, it’s interesting to see what leaders rate as important qualities in another of their kind. Apparently, seven in 10 think wannabe leaders need to be able to ensure success over the next three years – so presumably experience is more important than ever. 34%, on the other hand, say leaders-to-be need to be good at making difficult decisions, while 32% say they need to be able to ‘execute organisation strategy’. Otherwise known as sticking to the plan – whether there’s another recession ahead or not...

But it’s not just the nation’s leaders who are concerned about the lack of leadership potential around: it’s also HR people. According to the survey, just 20% of HR people rated their ability to fill leadership positions as ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’. By rights, considering the level of unemployment at the moment, that should be a cinch.  

So what can businesses do? Think ahead, says the CIPD. Money might be tight at the moment, but investing in your employees now could save a lot when it comes to appointing leaders in the future. Although, if you’re one of the leaders who’s worried about the quality of leadership in your organisation, it’s probably time to step aside and let someone else have a go. Although we do applaud your honesty…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime