- New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
5. Assessing leadership and the leadership gap Jean Brittain Leslie and Ruohong Wei There is little doubt that leadership is one of the most salient aspects of organizational life. Yet, there seems to be an undeniable sentiment that there is a shortage of leaders. These opinions are often driven by the media. The popular press is inundated with articles surfacing concerns that leaders lack the ‘right’ skills necessary to meet organizations’ current and future needs. Additionally, news of a pending leadership crisis has been looming in the literature since 2001. At the heart of these articles are arguments that there is a lack of talent, a lack of capabilities in the leadership pipeline, and a lack of good organizational selection and development practices. Concerns about the shortage of talented leaders exist not only in North America, but in Asian countries as well. A survey conducted by Development Dimensions International, Inc. identified essential leadership skills for Chinese managers, such as motivating others, building trust, retaining talent, and leading high-performance teams. However, the demonstrated levels of these critical skills were considered weak among one quarter of the business leaders in China (Bernthal et al., 2006). A recent survey with 249 Indian managers also indicated leadership gaps in the area of coaching and mentoring, speed in decision making, and the ability to learn (Gaur, 2006). THE LEADERSHIP GAP We use the term ‘leadership gap’ similarly to the definition provided by Weiss and Molinaro (2005) in their book, The Leadership Gap. It refers to...
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