In a survey conducted for Right Management, senior HR leaders indicated that talent pipelines are producing few potential future leaders and managers, with only four percent claiming the United States has a sufficient pipeline to meet the majority of their needs.
Right Management speculates that the reason that the leadership pipelines are so weak is that U.S. companies are so focused on layoffs and restructuring in recent years and are neglecting to develop their talent pipelines, leaving a gap now that companies and the economy are improving.
This study shows that there is a very big gap in our organizations around building a leadership presence.
In our new book, Survival of the Hive, leadership presence is a critical factor in the hive’s survival. The pheromone system in the queen bee automatically ensures that her leadership provides a sense of her presence (Footprint P-Factor), an adequate number of bees (Resourcing), assurance to the hive (Calming P-Factor) and common purpose and community (Unity P-Factor).
When we think about it, all leaders have certain essences or P-Factor attributes that influence an organization, department, or team’s success to a profound effect. Whether the leader is the head of the organization, or a departmental or section leader, these attributes—or the lack of them—influence the entire culture of the organization.
Leaving a Footprint
What footprint does the leader make? Is the footprint limited to only periodic sightings when things go wrong? Strong leaders leave a positive, strong footprint as they move throughout the organization—a conversation here or there, a note of praise near a metric board, a “from the desk of …” communication that updates the organization. The leader’s footprint can be large or small, positive or negative. Based on this footprint, people decide whether to follow the leader or actively resist. What is the nature of your footprint? How far and deep does it go in your organization?
Securing the Resources Needed to Succeed
The queen bee (and if you’re reading the book, Zync, our queen-in-waiting) is responsible for resourcing her hive with enough bees to produce the honey that is needed. She is single-minded in her effort, laying sometimes 2,000 eggs per day. Our question to leaders is: Are you providing adequate resources to get the work done, or are you always suggesting that people need to do more with less? There is a breaking point where under-resourcing can place your department, team, or organization at great risk. Conversely, paying too little attention to a ballooning resource pool will cause over-expenditures. Careful resource planning is an imperative of a good leader.
Calming the Fears
In today’s world of constant change, the ability to calm may be one of the most important for leaders. Running around like “Chicken Little” only creates anxiety and confusion. In the most turbulent and chaotic times, it is the best leaders that keep a steady hand, focus their vision on the horizon, and exude confidence in themselves as well as their hive.
Unity of Purpose
And finally, each leader must build a unity of purpose, a culture of excellence and community so clear and vital that no one can mistake it. It is not about being the most feared leader or the most commanding one but rather the leader that can unify the organization, team, or department around a sense of purpose and galvanize it to action in a positive way.
Effective leaders leave a footprint, resource correctly, calm others, and unite people around a common purpose. A strong organization invests in the development of their leaders because they understand the critical need for competent and committed leaders. It’s scary to think that only 4% of U.S. HR executives claim that they have a sufficient leadership pipeline to meet the majority of their needs. We have neglected a very basic lesson from the bees in which investment in each developing leader is as critical as breathing and surviving.