Strong Leaders Are Needed Now

I recently attended a webinar on leadership development that hit home for me. Working in learning and development for over 25 years, I have seen the changes taking place firsthand. The current challenges we see are not only in business as a whole but as existing leaders retire and companies need to bring up the next generation of leaders. Many companies have been so focused on other factors that they have neglected leadership development, which is more critical than ever. We are seeing many young people hired in their first job to lead people, and they have minimal or no experience in the workforce themselves.

According to a recent study by The Josh Bersin Company, leadership development is the most important of all the things we spend money on in HR. A Bersin study correlated HR investment areas against business growth. When looking at the impact relative to all capabilities, “developing leaders and managers” ranked “Extremely High”. Looking at leadership from this impact perspective should make you look closely at the behaviors and principles that your organization values.

Often, when chief human resource officers are asked what will make a company more profitable, a typical response will be to reduce turnover and increase performance, engagement, and customer service. Bersin suggests here, too, that the solution has to do with the leadership culture.

Josh Bersin of The Josh Bersin Company added that often when an organization is in crisis, “there is something missing in the leadership culture.”

In addition, he mentioned that we are currently in a shortage of workers, so the revenue per employee/value per employee is skyrocketing—one more reason to invest in your people and their leadership development. If that is not convincing enough, Bersin’s research also shows that companies with great leadership development practices are:

  • ◦ 9 times more likely to have an empowered workforce.
  • ◦ 12 times more likely to engage and retain employees.
  • ◦ 17 times more likely to be a great place to work.

Another key takeaway regarding leadership is that we need to create a culture of learning and leadership at all levels. In today’s giant ecosystem workforce, most employees serve customers or coworkers, contribute to and lead projects and initiatives, and drive improvement—all leadership opportunities. There is an opportunity to share leadership training earlier on, reaching out to emerging leaders and others building up their leadership behaviors.

Leadership was once outcome-based, but it is becoming much more human-centered. With that, we are putting “people issues” first, with strategy and execution second. We’ve known for a while that a leader’s emotional intelligence is more important for success than IQ, and the current workforce requires it. Understanding the experiences of different generations; building trust and relationships that result in better performance; communicating clearly; creating connections and safety for people to speak up and share their unique situations, needs, and ideas; coaching; handling the emotions of change and creating career paths—these human-centered behaviors are more in the spotlight than ever.

So, if you are looking for a way to attract, retain, and develop your people, your answer is leadership development.

What leader does not want to improve their bottom line and successfully grow the organization? Leaders need people-focus and organizational skills and behaviors to lead the organization through the challenges and changes in today’s workplace.

For more information about building your leadership development program, contact Jan Edman at and visit our website at to learn more about what MRA can do for you!

Janet Kloser

Learning & Development Instructor


1633 West End Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55416

(612) 200-2684

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