A UK-based alent measurement solutions company - SHL - has just released the results from a study of over a million workers in 251 countries. The study looked at the supply of future leaders per country relative to the size of its workforce, both as each country stands today and then as a projection of future leadership supply trends.
It reports that the US currently stands 5th in the league table of leadership potential supply, and is on track to drop to 8th place “tomorrow” (although it never actually defines the timeframe that tomorrow represents).
The point from the study though is that rapidly developing economies such as Mexico, Turkey and Brazil are starting to outpace older economies such as the US, the UK and Germany in the supply of global leaders – a trend that SHL describes as a “leadership time bomb” and offers five guidelines to cultivating leadership capability:
- Make It a Priority: Acknowledge the risk, and put a formal action plan in place. Start by clearly defining the behaviors and skills which make a successful leader in your organization.
- Look Beyond Performance: Have a full picture of the leadership potential across your organization and don't restrict that view to only those you think are high potential. Do not confuse ambition with ability.
- Replace Subjectivity with Objectivity: Gut instinct won't do. Using scientific data, benchmark your people against competitor talent and identify leadership shortages to avoid succession risk.
- Be Pragmatic and Proactive: Don't wait for yearly review cycles, instead, employ development interventions at the point-of-pain with individual employees or across departments. This includes where and when to spend learning and development budgets throughout the company.
- Cast a Wider Net: Take a global view of where your leadership talent is located and be prepared to use creative strategies to source talent across borders to fill leadership gaps.
Additional findings from the study:
Globally, only 1 in 15 (6.7%), managers and professionals qualify as leaders today. 1 in 3 managers and professionals have the next tier of leadership potential, but for this level of people the journey to realize that potential is longer and needs targeted investment. The value of investing in these people is substantial because there are six times as many managers and professionals with this level of potential than leaders for today.
In China (Taiwan), Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and United States, the supply of leadership for today and tomorrow is stronger than the average global supply. While competing for leadership talent remains a challenge in these geographies, the odds of finding effective leaders for today are significantly higher at 1 in 10 vs. the global average of 1 in 15.