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Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders

The Wilson Learning and Training Magazine Annual Leadership Development Survey

June 4, 2018

Respondents to this year’s survey share surprising changes in their approach to leadership development.

For the second year in a row, Training magazine and Wilson Learning have joined forces to conduct a survey focused on successful leadership development methods, as well as the trends and practices surrounding development efforts. The research also examines one of the most pressing topics in leadership development: how companies are using these methods to prepare a new group of leaders for the roles baby boomers are leaving behind. Not surprisingly, businesses still view this looming leadership gap as a considerable undertaking, but the data reveals some companies put a much higher emphasis on filling it than others do.

Training magazine strives to bring the latest insights, trends, and industry best practices to our readers,” notes Training Editor-in-Chief Lorri Freifeld. “Given the critical need to strengthen leadership development efforts and prepare the next generation of leaders, we wanted to explore what is and isn’t working in their development. Our research points to specific actions organizations can take to improve the effectiveness of their leadership development efforts and strengthen their organization’s future.”

With feedback from more than 500 respondents, the study reflects the formidable challenges and related successes companies across the globe are experiencing as they work to effectively fill leadership roles with new talent. Michael Leimbach, PhD, author of the study and Vice President of Global Research and Development for Wilson Learning Worldwide, writes, “How seamlessly the next generation of leaders begins leading teams, departments, business units, and organizations will depend greatly on how well their development is supported—and their expectations are high. There must be a shift of focus toward understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of this distinctive leadership demographic.”

Data throughout the study establishes an overwhelming correlation between high-performing organizations and the importance they attach to leadership development. The results also reveal notable shifts in how often organizations are relying on the self-identification of development needs and the priority placed on the skills to be developed. Even more surprising is who is being tapped for development. Consideration was given to which methods high-, medium-, and low-performing organizations use to support new leaders, the differences in how they approach the transition of new leadership talent, and the pluses and minuses of social media as it applies to leadership development.

Wilson Learning COO Tom Roth states, “It’s simple: High-performing organizations approach leadership development differently than lower-performing organizations. The organization that has a clear focus on preparing the next generation of leaders—and commits the resources to doing so—sets itself up for long-term success and growth.”

To read the full leadership survey article “Are Your Next-Gen Leaders on Track? Survey Conducted by Wilson Learning Worldwide for Training magazine,” visit

About Training Magazine

Training magazine is a 54-year-old professional development magazine that advocates training and workforce development as a business tool. The magazine delves into management issues such as leadership and succession planning; HR issues such as recruitment and retention; and training issues such as learning theory, on-the-job skills assessments, and aligning core workforce competencies to enhance the bottom-line impact of training and development programs. Written for training, human resources, and business management professionals in all industries, Training combines a paid circulation with qualified, controlled recipients to deliver the strongest circulation in the market.

About Wilson Learning—Improving Performance Through People

Wilson Learning Worldwide is a global leader in human performance improvement solutions for the Global 2000, Fortune 500 and emerging organizations worldwide. Serving clients in 50 countries and incorporating 30 languages worldwide, the company creates synergy between people and business strategy through an extensive range of world-class solutions focusing in leadership, sales and individual effectiveness. Its integrated offerings include: strategy alignment consulting, descriptive and evaluative assessment services, world class process and skills content, and technology-enabled solutions.