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The coming leadership gap: an exploration of competencies that will be in short supply

Steven B. Wolff, Ruth Wageman and Mary Fontaine

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2009, vol. 9, issue 2/3, 250-274

Abstract: Demographic trends show that the workforce in the developed world is ageing: approximately 50% of senior-level managers will be retiring in the next ten years. This mass exodus of senior managers will leave many companies with a leadership crisis. But the leadership skills that are most threatened by retirements have yet to be identified. What core leadership skills will become especially rare as senior leaders retire; and what are the implications for the kinds of leadership development activities that might mitigate the effects of these losses? We draw on two existing archival databases to explore these questions. Together, these databases allowed analyses to identify leadership skills that are likely to become both especially rare and especially desirable in the next ten years. Although many competencies were displayed to a greater degree by leaders at higher levels in the organisation than those at lower levels, four particular competencies show especially large gaps between senior- and mid-level manager populations. This study contributes to our understanding of the effects of demographic trends on leadership by identifying competencies that are likely to be in short supply as ageing managers retire. Implications for leadership development practices are discussed.

Keywords: leadership crisis; leadership gap; competencies; leader development; leadership skills; demographic change; ageing workforce; ageing managers; senior managers; workforce demographics. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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