How to Close Your Company’s Leadership Skills Gap in 3 Steps

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Is your company experiencing what the Center for Creative Leadership refers to as “the current leadership crisis,” or a leadership skills gap? If so, some of your employees lack critical leadership skills needed for organizational growth and productivity.

It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to have a leadership skills shortage. “A recent study from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) reports that a glaring gap exists between the leadership skills organizations have now and the ones they will need in five years,” according to the Association for Talent Development.

Is your workforce lacking vital leadership skills?

What Are Leadership Skills?

“Leadership skills” is a broad term. Here are a few examples, mentioned by Chief Learning Officer, of specific leadership skills that many of today’s employees are lacking:

The ability to…

  • Shape organizational strategy
  • Build high-performance culture
  • Enhance organizational talent
  • Create alignment and accountability
  • Drive product innovation and profitability
  • Cultivate a customer-focused culture
  • Build strategic partnerships and relationships

If your employees aren’t strong in these skills, there are several things you can do to close the leadership skills gap in your company.

3 Ways to Close Your Company’s Leadership Skills Gap

Interested in upskilling your workforce and closing your company’s leadership skills gap? Give these tips a try:

1. Find out what specific leadership skills are missing — What leadership skills are your employees weak in? You must know this before designing leadership skills training. Putting together a generic leadership training program may deliver some results, but it won’t be nearly as effective as a program tailored to your employees’ needs.

“General leadership development is, usually, useless for meeting your specific needs. You need the precise leadership skills that will close the gap between your current performance and your future vision. So the first task is to get very clear about the actual skills gap you have and to co-design a programme that perfectly fits your circumstances and requirements,” wrote a contributor to The European Business Review.

Once you’ve determined the leadership skills your employees need most, you can move forward with creating a training program that drives results.

2. Offer ongoing leadership skills training — Some employees are born leaders. Those who don’t naturally exhibit leadership capabilities are not a lost cause — leadership skills can be taught. Making ongoing leadership training a priority is a good move for companies facing a leadership skills gap.   

Leadership skills training increases productivity, retention, decision-making, and engagement, according to eLearning Industry. Promote this type of training by developing online leadership modules that employees can participate in at their own pace. In-person, classroom-style training is another effective option. The key is to consistently offer training built around the specific leadership skills your employees need.

3. Assign mentors to employees — In every company there are employees who naturally assume leadership roles. These individuals are the often the first to be promoted and want leadership training. They often make great mentors.

To close the leadership skills gap, have employees who are strong leaders mentor those who are not. Mentoring strengthens leadership skills in both mentor and mentee. Consider developing a structured mentoring program that that lasts a set number of weeks. After the program is over, have all employees submit feedback so that the program’s effectiveness can be measured.

How Will You Close the Leadership Skills Gap?

Pinpointing the specific leadership skills your employees need, designing and delivering an effective leadership skills training program, and facilitating mentoring relationships will narrow the leadership skills gap. What will you do to close this gap in your organization?


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