Tim Taylor is putting the OD ball squarely in the court of leadership.
Leaders have a crucial role to play in creating a talent pipeline to enable a flow of talented and skilled managers to reach the upper echelons of an organisation.
Research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found that only 55% of managerial vacancies are filled internally, with the proportion of these appointments decreasing higher up the organisation going from 61% at frontline management level down to 58% for middle management and to just 50% for senior management.
These statistics are a wake-up call because it's a clear indication of how little businesses have done over the past ten years to fill their leadership pipeline – it's not too late yet but 24 months from now it will be for those businesses operating in hugely competitive markets. Learning and development will be key to populating these pipelines once again.
Almost half (47%) of employers cite lack of capability as the single biggest barrier to ensuring an effective pipeline of managers and leaders. The majority (93%) expressed concern that low levels of management skills are having a direct impact on their business achieving its goals. It is right that employers are concerned. After all, if talent can't get through to where it is needed organisational development will come to a standstill. But I would argue that if employers looked hard enough they would discover that the talent is there if they nurture it and coax it out from middle management roles correctly.
"In such an unpredictable economic climate it is essential for leaders to nurture managers that show they are flexible and adaptable. Do they accept that change in the current working environment will not slow down in the foreseeable future? "
As a leader it is your responsibility to create a talent pipeline through your organisation. How can you identify managers who are ready to take the next step? As well as worrying about their own success, leaders should also encourage others to do the same.
First of all, leaders need to envisage what a manager with great potential actually looks like before working with these individuals to help them move up to the next level. In such an unpredictable economic climate it is essential for leaders to nurture managers that show they are flexible and adaptable. Do they accept that change in the current working environment will not slow down in the foreseeable future?
After uncovering the talent in their organisation leaders will need to equip the next generation with the resources they need to succeed. Managers will need the chance to test their learning and capability with those above them and win support from members of the current executive team – this kind of sponsorship is crucial. A manager may have the potential to progress but they will make little headway unless someone from above champions their cause.
Managers will also need to increase their profile through networking and showcasing their talents in front of the people that matter. Today's leaders need to open doors and provide platforms from which managers can illustrate their work and express their ideas for the business.
After all, the best kind of leader gives exposure to others that generates good results and understands their own personal working preferences, as well as those of the rest of the team. When this process and culture is embedded within the organisation, long term growth and development, in our experience, becomes inevitable.
Tim Taylor is the CEO at leadership development company Making Great Leaders. You can download their latest leadership report here