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Leadership Shortage: Who's to Blame?

Do you ever get frustrated with the shortage of leaders in your organization? Are you discouraged that your leaders aren’t reproducing themselves?

You know your organization would be better prepared for future growth if there were a constant population of potential leaders filling your leadership pipeline. You also know your leaders have the potential and capability to reproduce themselves. You’re confident there are people with leadership potential who could be raised up. Yet the development of new leaders just isn’t happening the way you desire.

When we feel the pain of the leadership shortage we’re tempted to look around for someone to blame. We ask ourselves, “Why the shortage?” but there doesn’t seem to be satisfactory answers. Perhaps we need to expand our perspective on the problem.

Maybe the lack of reproduction isn’t a single individuals fault. Maybe it’s the organizational culture that’s at fault. Here are a few things to consider:

Maybe your organization has become more focused on short-term output to the neglect of long-term development. It’s all too common for teams to feel overworked and operating from a sense of urgency. When we’re operating out of urgency today we take our eyes off the priority of development that makes for a better tomorrow.

Maybe people aren’t reproducing themselves because there’s no reward or recognition for reproduction. What gets celebrated gets replicated. And if you’re never publicly celebrating the reproduction of new leaders then it will never be a value among your team.

Maybe your systems aren’t designed to reinforce the behavior you’re looking for. Many times people aren’t developing new leaders because they don’t know how. There’s no defined process of HOW new leaders will be developed. Every organization should have a defined process for raising up leaders that’s aligned across the organization.

Maybe the expectation to rise up new leaders has never been clearly stated. Why not put on your leaders job description – “Develop new leaders.” Make the expectation clear to those you lead. Remember if you don’t have shared expectations you’ll have shared frustrations.

Maybe your leadership shortage isn’t the fault of one individual; maybe it’s simply a result of the organizational culture that’s been created. You will never have an abundance of leaders until you’ve built a culture of leadership development.