Preparing Tomorrow's Executives: Frontline Leadership Development Is Viewed as Important in Theory, but Not Often in Practice

By Patel, Laleh | Talent Development, March 2014 | Go to article overview

Preparing Tomorrow's Executives: Frontline Leadership Development Is Viewed as Important in Theory, but Not Often in Practice


Patel, Laleh, Talent Development


Arecent report from ASTD, Frontline Leaders: Developing Tomorrow's Executives, reveals findings about developing first-time managers. The report does not focus on frontline leaders in isolation, however; instead, it takes a holistic approach of people capability within the organization from a talent management, people development, and frontline leader development perspective.

The survey was conducted in partnership with the ASTD Forum--a consortium of more than 50 member organizations that connect, collaborate, and share ideas. Results indicate that less than one-third (29 percent) of the 513 respondents conducted a baseline talent assessment in the past three years, while 55 percent did not conduct organization-wide talent assessments at all. Lacking data has an impact on the entire organization, including the needs of employees, and the motivation and readiness for moving between roles.

The report emphasizes that an integrated talent management approach is necessary to understand the capabilities within an organization, as well as the formal and informal development opportunities needed to provide the skills to achieve results. This is particularly important for frontline leaders who have a dramatic role transition from being an individual contributor to entering the management pipeline.

Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated that their organization does not have a structured career progression process that is easy for employees to understand. Still, more than three-quarters of organizations provide formal and informal learning opportunities.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents acknowledge that frontline leadership development is important, yet only 38 percent of surveyed organizations have a formal process in place. …

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