America’s leadership “reserves” may be hitting a new low as half of all corporate- level executives retire over the next five years, predicts HR consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

Who will step up to replace them? You!

But with demand up and supply down, you’ll not only find yourself in a leadership spot, you’ll also have to deal with the shortage of good people with leadership potential themselves.

Your best defenses:
  • Be a great coach, boss and mentor. After conducting upward of 20,000 exit interviews, the Saratoga Institute found the real (not the given) reasons for employees’ departures: poor management and leadership or dysfunctional work culture.

  • Systematize retention or talent management. Only about a third of the organizations polled have a system that will produce even one successor (much less two) for each top position, a precaution that helps guarantee against departures or transfers.

  • Walk the talk. Enron professed shining, beautiful values. It did not live them. Recognizing and practicing good values are not the same thing.
—Adapted from “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?”, Kevin Cashman, www.forbes.com, www.leadersource.com.

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