Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

Changing workforce demographics are making good leadership training more important than ever. Nearly two-thirds of all senior executives (baby boomers) will be eligible for retirement over the next five years. That raises a very big question about who will fill those shoes – and whether will they be prepared to assume that leadership role.

In many cases, companies will look to Gen Xers to replace current leadership. But the reality is that this is a much smaller group and companies may want – or need – to start training up-and-coming Millennials to assume leadership roles. Millennials may not yet have enough experience, especially when it comes to leading teams and making tough decisions in today’s complex, rapidly changing business environment. So where to start?

Leadership is often best learned in the trenches, when there is an opportunity to “fail” or at least experiment. One can learn from the giants like Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, and read all the textbooks and current literature; however, some of the best leadership training comes on-the-job, especially when one has a chance to learn from mistakes. (I’ve learned far more from my mistakes than from my victories!)

Millennials often get frustrated by the deliberate (some might call it ‘slow’) pace of baby boomers, and the lack of technology in certain business solutions when it comes to “showing them the ropes” sharing of experience. Millennials value authenticity and transparency. They want to see for themselves what works and what doesn’t, and they want to be trusted to make big decisions as well as small ones.