Last month, we discussed how Academia and Industry have aligned under the banner of T-shaped leadership. In this article, employees and executives express concern for the lack of focused response to the rapidly changing leadership requirements being driven by the disruptive pace of global technological change. 

Future Leadership Readiness:  Where is the True North?

Based on polls from 2020workforce.com and the PEW Research Center, a glaring disconnect lives between what is required from today’s high-performance leaders and what is currently being provided by companies in terms of effective development programs. The following examples drive home that point. 

Ex. A: Workforce Planning Gap

The participants agreed that the insights are very telling and according to the research results, global employees do not feel prepared for the future of work – they are scared. The survey showed that 40 percent of global employees say their position changing or becoming obsolete is a top job concern.

2020workforce (img 1)

2020 Workforce.com  Oxford Economics

Ex. B:  Workforce Displacement      

The participants agreed that the insights are very telling and according to the research results, global employees do not feel prepared for the future of work – they are scared. The survey showed that 40 percent of global employees say their position changing or becoming obsolete is a top job concern.

2020workforce (img 2)

2020 Workforce.com Oxford Economics    

Bad Leaders – Great Leaders: Development is the Key

What do good and bad leaders have to do with closing the leadership gap? The differentiation between leadership architypes is now so broad that it seems obvious that a more evolved approach to leadership development must emerge or be created. Successful future leaders will own their own development paths, understand where their development gaps are, and expand their “Top of T” skillset to adapt to their work environments. The baseline formula for building those leadership abilities will be written in the T-shaped format. Domestic employees, executive leadership and the entire global workforce are crying out for this solution.

Legacy Leadership Programs:  The Definition of Insanity 

Traditional leadership models developed during the post-industrial and early information age are still being marketed and sold worldwide. Based on the abysmal management performance numbers from such a diverse cross section of industries, these obsolete models for leadership no longer pass the value test. Rebranding, rehashing and reselling tired leadership training approaches to today’s knowledge worker is akin to automakers only offering CD players in all new vehicles, they play music but the media no longer meets the driver’s needs.    

Executive Summary:  The Business Case for T-shaped leadership

Let’s recount and sum up the information in the last few articles:

Leadership gap is massive

  • Not enough skilled workers are prepared to take over from leaders exiting the workforce
  • Opportunities abound for T-shaped professionals

Disrupted workforce

  • Rapid change in business skill requirements are being driven by information technology

Converting I’s to T’s

  • Leaders must learn to balance “hard skills” with “soft skills”
  • T-shaped leadership can provide the structure and restore balance

 Company culture drives workforce leadership requirements

  • Heirarchy vs. open organization

Future leaders must own their own development

  • Traditional pathways to leadership are dysfunctional, the new discipline will be more self-directed 
  • Knowledge workers must shift their mindset, increase awareness and prioritize a continuing education path

Future leaders will be T-shaped professional knowledge workers

  • Own a balanced share of hard & soft skills, be self aware and have leadership skills that are aligned to their company.

Positioning Your Company to Win!

Closing the leadership talent gap will be a challenge, even for organizations that have the proper structure and willingness to realign their entire talent management program around the looming realty of scarce leadership readiness. How should you as a CEO, executive, board member or HR professional respond to these seemingly uncontrollable factors?  

Bridge the talent gap by starting a program to develop, recruit and promote T-shaped leaders. Develop a well thought out T-shaped leadership program that has positive impact and efficiency gains across the entire scope of your succession management plan.  In lieu of radically restructuring your entire organization to accommodate self-directed leadership candidates, begin with a simple BETA version within a moderate-risk department where the need for leadership improvement is recognizable, but not critical.

Thomas E. Stone is the CEO of Stone Business Professionals. David Mantica is the president of ASPE. Mike Eason is the CTO of The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

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