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Article -> Developing Future Leaders

Date Added: May 2015

By 2020, many of the 80 million Baby Boomers will be retiring. Unfortunately, there are only 40-50 million Generation Xers to replace these individuals; creating a leadership gap.

Organizations must prepare and invest in the next generation of leaders with a focus on developing all employees. Based on research, this is occurring; as U.S. organizations increased spending on leadership development by an average of 14 percent and dedicated an average of 17 percent of leadership development budgets to developing high-potential individuals.

Some believe the pipeline for leaders is weak, which is why Baby Boomers are working longer. Others believe Gen X and Gen Y are capable of being leaders; although organizations must be willing to invest in training, development and coaching.

Organizations have been working on succession planning for years; however, results are weak. Successors have been identified for only 10 percent of entry-level leaders, 19 percent of mid-level leaders, 24 percent of senior-level leaders, and 36 percent for executives. Future leaders must be properly trained and can come from all areas of an organization.

As organizations are entering the time for strategic planning, leadership development should be reviewed as a key priority. Are current leaders taking time to coach and mentor others? Have future leaders been identified and do they have proper resources to develop? Are budgets adequate and/or growing to support the future leadership gap?

Any leadership development plan must incorporate all four areas of holistic leadership – family, community, self and work. Work and self are most common; and the inclusion of family and community are vital given this is where most leadership behaviors and beliefs are formed.

Seek individuals who excel at work, while also possessing personal characteristics such as knowing themselves deeply, seeking to serve others, investing in learning, taking time for reflection, maintaining work/life balance, and creating an innovative future.

Future leaders are needed at all organizational levels. This includes all those who are truly heart and soul inspired leaders – current leaders capable of serving future leaders; and future leaders willing to positively impact others and change the world.

David Yeghiaian is committed to leading people to positively impact others and change the world. Reach him at

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