This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 11, 2005

Where Have All Our Leaders Gone?

Sometimes outstanding leaders appear, but in too many situations there is a serious shortage of leaders at all levels. Employees in many organizations are looking for strong leadership, and not finding it. They ask themselves more frequently these days whether they want to continue following the leaders they have now. Without confidence in their leaders, people do not perform to their highest potential and often wonder if they should be working somewhere else.

Corporate leadership has been damaged, maligned, and challenged in recent times by a number of incidents that have received substantial publicity. Leaders, who were once respected, have been caught in compromising unethical and financial dealings that threaten their careers and the security of their companies.

The sullied reputation of these leaders has extended to cover all leaders with the same concern. Workers wonder whether they can trust their leaders, particularly when they see internal evidence of management incompetence, hesitation in making decisions, lack of vision and foresight, and inaccessibility to their employees.

This uncertainty will motivate good employees to leave their employers in search of leaders they can follow with greater confidence.

Leadership will become increasingly important in the years ahead.

As people look at prospective employers, they will ask serious questions about leadership style and effectiveness. If they do not receive the answers they are looking for, top talent will settle elsewhere. The message is clear for the future: Actively demonstrate enlightened leadership or risk not attracting the caliber of employees you want.

Major risk: A great many employers gutted their training departments during the recent economic downturn. Consequently, people who should have received leadership training and/or executive development lost part of their growth opportunity.

Aspiring leaders need role models. Dethroned executives and politicians have sent the wrong message. When people look for role models, one example they see is the late Pope John Paul II.

Our forecast is that we will soon see a flock of books about the leadership style of this inspiring leader. They will sell well—to people eager to understand the attributes of a highly effective man who made a difference.

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