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Recruiting talent only part of the leadership gap solution

Tom Roth

The workforce tapped to replace retiring Boomers needs more than conventional knowledge to succeed – it needs a holistic mindset shift. Tom Roth, COO of Wilson Learning Worldwide.

The crisis isn’t just the mushrooming leadership gap – it’s how to effectively train (and retain) the talent being promoted to these vacated leadership positions. Too often, new leaders are being consumed by the pressures of their new responsibilities, spinning into a cycle of micromanaging, alienating those they lead, and overworking themselves in the process.

The only way to sustain high performance is to teach new leaders how to create conditions that facilitate the engagement, performance, and, ultimately, fulfillment of the individuals on their teams. Because they are eager to demonstrate their abilities, newly appointed managers strive to provide quick results, often by falling back on what they know best.

The technical abilities that helped them excel up to this point. But because they haven’t learned how to transition from doer to manager, they end up pushing, rather than leading, their teams.

They haven’t been given the tools to productively lead those they now manage. According to Roth, “Leadership is not just about driving results. Understanding this requires a new perspective on what it means to be a leader, as well as the courage to learn and apply these behaviours.”

To successfully replenish their leadership workforce, organisations need to teach new leaders how to focus less on their own performance and instead help their team members find purpose and meaning in the work they do.

The leaders who learn to combine the elements that connect an individual contributor’s passion to the contribution of the team will be able to solve problems by leading others to solve problems, creating a win-win for themselves, their teams, and the organizations wise enough to invest in training their newest leaders. The truest source of power comes from freeing others to use their own talents.

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