The Leadership Development Crisis


Share on LinkedIn

Recently we conducted a survey of 25 top CEOs from across the United States who all run companies in various industries. The company sample sizes ranged from small-to-large, with workforces that ranged in ages, skills and salary payouts. I must say that when we initiated this project I truly expected to have a broad spectrum of responses to our questions around their leadership, and more specifically their leadership struggles. The results proved me wrong. It was alarming how aligned these CEOs were on the issues at hand.

Here is a list of the questions we asked these amazing leaders.

1. What are the top three challenges your team is facing? If needed list by department.

2. With each of the three challenges from question one, where is your team getting stuck?

3. What could the business be doing to make it more successful?

4. How would you rate the communication on your team? (1 to 10 with 10 being the highest)

5. How did this communication ranking from question four help or hurt your business last year?

6. How would you rate the drive of your team? (1 to 10 with 10 being the highest)

7. How did this drive ranking from question six help of hurt your business last year?

8. How would you rate your team’s ability to execute on important projects? (1 to 10 with 10 being the highest) 8

9. How did this execution ranking from question eight help of hurt your business last year?

10. As the organizational leader, what is your number 1 pain point or source of frustration?

11. If you could only improve one thing this year for your team what would that be? Why?

12. If you were considering hiring a professional coach for yourself or your team, what would be important to confirm in your decision-making process to hire or not hire that person?

Average of answers received.

1. Situational Leadership skills, Self-Awareness, effective communication

2. Fear of exposing weaknesses or looking bad, working in silos, lack of initiative/complacency, fear of unknow.

3. Leadership development, executing on set plans/goals, right fitting skills to positions

4. Solid 5. People shy away from difficult conversations and there are too many “yes” people in leadership.

5. Most leaders are not meeting their potential from a growth and performance perspective.

6. Solid 4.

7. Team drive is sporadic and inconsistent. There appears to be a lack of self-management and self-initiative amongst the leadership groups.

8. Solid 5.5

9. Most CEOs feel the work is acceptable but nowhere near extraordinary. There are areas of opportunity here for rewarding great work and developing skills.

10. Overwhelmingly the answer here was lack of accountability. Leaders are not taking ownership of their initiatives, KPIs, and teams.

11. Leadership Development – getting team members to own it, grow and excel in a higher % of areas.

12. Finding someone who understands our struggles, communicates effectively and show a ROI on the spend.

As you can see by these answers, the crisis around leadership development is real. In today’s employment market it is more difficult than ever to locate, hire and retain good leadership. It’s really competitive and leaders are looking for environments they can grow in. Employers will pay $600 billion in turnover costs in 2018 and can expect that number to increase to $680 billion by 2020. Employees have career options, and our study shows they are nothesitant to leave their current positions for jobs that better fit their preferences and expectations.

Employers must embrace the employee-in-control marketplace and understand conditions that must change in their workplace if they want to reduce costly turnover, keep workers and expand their businesses in a time of economic growth, Understanding the root causes of turnover is an important first step, and this report offers insights to help employers understand how to do that in their organizations.

While many studies report that most employees leave their current jobs for better-paying positions, our data shows that career development opportunities, work-life balance and poor management are consistently the real issues that spur employees to leave. It’s a “this isn’t worth the money” thing more than it’s all about the money. Don’t get us wrong, adequate pay is imperative as well.

A 2018 Retention Report reveals the 50 most important reasons employees decided to leave their jobs and groups them into 10 categories, seven of which are considered more preventable by employers. The top five categories of reasons employees leave their jobs are:

Career Development – No opportunity to grow in a preferred job and career. (21%)
Work-Life Balance – Better work-life balance, which includes more favorable schedules, shorter commute times and scheduling flexibility. (13%)
Manager Behavior – Unprofessional or unsupportive managers. (11%)
Well-Being – Personal or family health issues. (9%)
Compensation and Benefits – Pay was cited more often than benefits. (9%)
The report identifies other key takeaways, such as when employees are more likely to quit. Approximately 40 percent of employees left within 12 months of being hired, the highest first-year turnover rate in eight years. The percentage of employees who said they were aware of unethical, illegal or fraudulent behavior at their former place of employment rose to 6.1 percent last year, a 500 percent increase over 2010.

Thank you again to all the leaders who contributed to our research! For more information download the PowerPoint “The Leadership Development Crisis”.

Leadership Dev Crisis Download

Live and Lead Exceptionally!

Eric Sims
Eric is a Contact Center Outsourcing expert who specializes in helping businesses help their customers. He is the Cofounder & CEO of Leading Edge Connections, LLC, America's #1 fully remote outsourced contact center. He is also the host of Preventing Brand$laughter. A weekly podcast that helps business gain the insights and information to protect their brand from self-inflicted sabotage.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here