Trends in Leader Development and Succession

By Bernthal, Paul; Wellins, Richard | Human Resource Planning, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Trends in Leader Development and Succession


Bernthal, Paul, Wellins, Richard, Human Resource Planning


This article summarizes key findings from a global benchmarking study of more than 4,500 leaders from over 900 organizations. Those key findings include a review of the qualities (e.g., results orientation, interpersonal skills, and personal qualities) that affect leader success and failure. The article also evaluates the most frequently used leader development practices in terms of their impact on the individual as well as on organizational performance. The final section examines the use of succession management systems, their most important qualities, and their impact on the organization. Recommendations for change and implications of the study are discussed.

The Leadership Challenge

In a complex and changing world, highly skilled and experienced leaders at all levels--not just senior leaders--are becoming harder to find. Leaders at all levels are asked to play multiple roles, including strategist, coach, global thinker, change driver, and entrepreneur. Because decision making often occurs at lower levels, line managers "now need to be as informed as senior managers about strategic business issues, as well as cultural, human-resource, and marketing issues. And there is a growing requirement for managers to have a global mind-set and manage across regions" (Verespej, 2001, p. 35-36). No wonder when organization try to fill a vacant leadership position many candidates seems to come up short in some critical skill area. Furthermore, the rush to fill open positions means that many leaders are unprepared when they start their new jobs.

Sourcing leaders has always been a challenge, and the situation is only getting more difficult. The ability to find leaders capable of handling complex leadership roles will be heightened by the gradual drain of seasoned and experienced leaders. An aging workforce and the retirement of a large portion of the leadership population will create vacancies at high-level positions critical for the success of the organization. Thus, organizations will be faced with the task of finding qualified leaders for multiple levels. Although the increased strain on recruiting and staffing leaders is a concern, the real danger to the growth and stability of organizations worldwide is the loss of experienced leaders who have a significant body of knowledge about their organizations and their industries. A leader with 20 years of experience in an organization is uniquely familiar with the history, goals, and culture. The US General Accounting Office predicts that by 2015, the number of workers older than 55 will balloon by 73 percent (Rappaport, et al., 2003). Similar trends exist in most nations in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. For example, Access Economics (www.accesseconomics.com.au), Australia's leading economic consultancy, forecasts that Australia's working-age population will grow by just 125,000 for the decade of the 2020s, compared with about 170,000 people a year currently. Access Economics also predicts that the number of Australians aged 55 to 64 is expected to increase by more than 50 percent over the next two decades. The aging of the workforce and the comparative lack of younger replacement workers will put a strain on organizations' ability to staff leadership positions.

Benchmarking Leadership and Leader Development Practices

When faced with the challenge of finding qualified leaders, organizations have a number of options such as improving their process for identifying leaders, strengthening leader development programs, ramping up succession management systems. The process for making these changes is not always clear, and organizations often look to industry best practices for help. In particular, a recent study of 944 organizations in 42 countries by Development Dimensions International (Bernthal & Wellins, 2005) provides valuable insight into leadership-related HR practices.

The 2005-2006 Leadership Forecast study gathered data from HR professionals and over 4,500 leaders to evaluate leader strengths and capabilities and leader development practices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Trends in Leader Development and Succession
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.