Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders | Wilson Learning and Training Magazine Annual Leadership Development Survey |Wilson Learning Worldwide


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Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: The Wilson Learning and Training Magazine Annual Leadership Development Survey

Edina, Minn., USA - June 4, 2018 - Respondents to this year’s survey share surprising changes in their approach to leadership development.

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Jennie Knapp

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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

To learn more, contact Wilson Learning at or 800.328.7937.