Managing the Leadership Shortage

A report from Manhattan-based Beeson Consulting Inc. caught my eye. Ponderously titled “The Executive Leadership Imperative: A New Perspective on How Companies and Executives Can Accelerate the Development of Women Leaders,” it takes as its launching point a study from The Conference Board that suggests we are facing an “emerging leadership challenge.” The group following the baby boom generation is approximately 18 percent smaller than its predecessor. Fewer folks in the work force equal fewer future leaders.

The Beeson paper postulates that this represents an opportunity for women if stumbling blocks to women’s advancement are carted away, obstacles such as poorly articulated rules for advancement; a lack of candid, constructive feedback; and a narrower range of leadership behaviors the organization will allow women to display.

While roughly 50 percent of you reading this will recognize the problems in the study, the most useful part are the suggested solutions. I especially applaud this one: “Identify and reward powerful male ‘champions’ who are skilled at developing women leaders.” Like it or not, the C-suite is probably more receptive to recommendations for promotions that come from men.

What is your organization doing to prepare for the leadership shortage? What programs target specifically the promotion of women?