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Overcoming the Leadership Skills Gap Part 1: The Symptoms

Discovering a leadership skills gap can feel like crossing the Grand Canyon, even more so as it can be hard to determine since the symptoms can appear and be felt beyond your leadership team. The ‘leadership skills gap’ has been discussed at length from a variety of angles for years as basic generational shifts occur in the working population. However, many more symptoms and causes have appeared, especially when taking into consideration this past year as we have all worked through pandemic changes to business operations.

Recruiting for leaders has become more strategic and changes with each new opening, as companies review needs versus wants when it comes to the skills necessary to execute their vision and goals. Over the next few weeks TalentRemedy will be reviewing in depth the below symptoms and causes we have noticed in the market for leaders. While we may review each of the topics below individually in separate articles, they connect and collide with each other in a variety of ways. Developing a plan of action to address a leadership skills gap should be seen as an overall strategy as opposed to tweaking one area at a time to remedy only one symptom felt.

Generational Shifts

While it is no surprise each of us are getting older, the changing dynamics to the workplace values shifts not only how people do their job, but also how we recruit people into open roles. Not only are organizations finding new ways to attract Gen Z talent into their entry level openings, but we are also finding mid-career changes, longer careers before retirement, and ageism stereotypes that lead us to believe we are more different than similar to others in groups outside of our own generation.

The Gig Economy

Technological advances have not only made it easier to work remotely, but it has also made it easier to work beyond the typical 9-5. Coupling these technology solutions with shifting priorities across all generations, candidates are now exploring opportunities that don’t typically fit into the standard 40 hour work-week. Freelancing and contracting are gaining popularity, creating the need to see if skills are better found through gig workers.

Moving to Lean or Flat Organizational Structures

Organizational charts are not new, with the first ones dating back to 1855, however there has been a shift in modern times to creating flatter structures with less red tape and chain of command to empower and involve employees at all levels in decision making processes. As the saying goes “With great power comes great responsibility.” Flattening organizational structures can lead to increasing responsibilities at each role in the organization, spreading typical leadership responsibilities across more people.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

This double-edge sword of a phrase, as well as related synonyms, has been included in job descriptions and spoken by hiring managers, company owners, recruiters, and employees alike. What is hard about the phrase is that what attracts company owners and hiring managers to bringing candidates into open roles may also be what drives people to open and own their own business – leaving them no longer a viable candidate. Balancing this sword takes finesse and digging into what this buzz phrase means for each person.

Shrinking Labor Force/Identifying High Potential Candidates

Unicorns, purple squirrels, rockstars - we all want them, but like any finite resource high potential candidates are hard to find, and harder to keep because everyone else wants them too. Coupling with the fact of a lowering labor participation rate, finding candidates that fit your profile and position needs can be tough.

We hope you will join us over the next several articles to explore these topics further as we dive deeper and provide some potential remedies to build a bridge across the leadership skills gap.

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