Leadership: Is the Next Generation Ready?

In our latest Nicolet Bank Business Pulse study, we looked to compare and contrast the views of current business leaders (current Pulse members) and future leaders (members of Young Professionals groups).

A few of the results that interested me was when we asked current business leaders how much confidence they had in the next generation of leaders.  59% answered a “moderate” level while 20% answered “some” confidence.  While that’s not bad, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the next generation, at least not yet.

We followed up that question by asking current leaders how they rate themselves compared with other organizations in developing leaders.  39% said better than most, 49% said about the same.  If 39% believe they are better than most at developing leaders, then why isn’t the confidence in the next generation higher?  Is it because they may be better than most, but not yet where they need to be?

When we asked the Young Professionals group, “What was the most important thing that they needed to further their development as a leader?”, the most popular affinity-grouped answer was Opportunity.

If 80% of the current leaders are only moderately or somewhat confident in the next generation, will that opportunity come?

Will you let them make mistakes to learn the necessary lessons that will help them be better leaders in the future?  Secondly, can you afford to?  The real question is can you afford not to?  Tell me what you think, and thanks in advance for the input.