Deloitte recently released a research study reveals that despite the fact that over the past ten years companies have spent more money to train their executives the leadership development gap continues to widen. At a time when the demand for leadership skills is on the rise and leadership development programs often fail to deliver their promised results – what is the future of leadership development?

70% of Americans blame leadership crisis as a factor in the national economic decline.

- Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University

The challenge is to unlock the hidden potential of our future leaders. Do they demonstrate the skills necessary to transition from the autocratic management style to the higher demand democratic variation? Future leaders must be able to include the human side of business as they develop skills to truly proclaim their success as a leader.

Get ready--Six Leadership Development Trends for 2015!

1. Generational Difference Management

“One of the most important developments of the global leadership scene is the rise of Millennials, who will now obtain more leadership positions with high level responsibilities.” - Aon Hewitt

Today, companies face the growing challenge of generational differences. The “Boomers”, “Generation Xers” will soon be giving way for the Millennials as they migrate to the executive level. Beginning with the fact that they are the only generation that has grown up completely immersed in technology, so leadership styles and leadership development training will naturally be somewhat unique from previous programs.

2. Small Companies Will Invest More

Deloitte recently published a 2014 Leadership Development Factbook, where one of the main trends observed on the American market was the curious fact that the biggest investment boost for training leaders came from small businesses. As it turns out, in 2013 an average small company spent 23% more on leadership development initiatives than their larger company counterparts. This tendency is likely to continue, based on results of a recent SMB study conducted by the Lucas Group; “52 percent of respondents reported being somewhat or very optimistic with job growth prospects for their company. Of those surveyed more than half anticipated expanding their workforce in the next 12 months.” Workforce growth is a primary indicator for the continued need to develop leadership development

– investing in development will be seen as an excellent way to build the capabilities needed for the future.

3. A Globalized Approach

DDI, a talent management consultancy, reported that one of the growing concerns is the ability of executives to lead across countries and cultures, regardless of the company’s size. “In an increasingly globalized world, it is still an issue for almost any size of organization,” says Simon Mitchell, UK general manager for DDI. He adds: “Businesses must recognize that managers and leaders that operate outside of the home market or as part of a team that stretches across borders need specific skills and qualities such as coping with ambiguity, having clear and effective interactions and making decisions in unfamiliar environments become increasingly challenging when operating across border.”

4. “Emerging Leaders” Will Get More Funding

The Lucas survey also reports that 29% of the respondents are concerned about talent recruiting at all levels. Addressing this issue will force companies to recognize potential leaders early, nurturing them, helping to develop their skills and demonstrating their commitment to their personal growth. Investing in future leaders is and will be recognized as the opportunity for building potential pipeline at every level of leadership.

5. The Rise of Collective Leadership

Driving this collective or “cooperative” form of leadership could be, again, the rise of the Millennials entering leadership roles. The mere fact that they have grown up and continue to thrust forward in a “social” capacity would indicate that while these leaders will still “own” a solution, the means at which the solution was development would be categorized as more collective. This change while fully embraced by this next generation– will require less traditional thinking and a updated leadership development plan.

6. Focus on Vertical Development

Vertical development is defined as matching a person’s development to the stages in which they grow mentally. If this idea takes hold, clearly new leadership styles will develop. Those leadership styles will be more collaborative and participative than before – they will all flourish thanks to the skills and knowledge acquired in revamped leadership development programs.

Companies with high leadership qualities were six times more likely to be among the top 20 financial performers of all organizations.” – Simon Mitchel, DDI

The future of leadership development strategies will reflect how companies deal with new leadership challenges and economic realities. Butler Street is a team of process-driven, knowledge sharing executives who help companies recognize and develop future talent with our TalentFirst ARD™ program. Our approach begins with our Talent Diagnostic Discovery. Contact us to learn more about our proven tools and training for Talent Development. Get ready!