Bear! Run! Will you outrun the bear? It’s not likely, but you can outrun your competitors.

According to the latest Manpower “Talent Shortage Survey” 44% of employers across the globe report they cannot find the skills they need. source A New Solution to the Skilled Workers ShortageIn a tight labor market coupled with an obvious skills shortage, many feel helpless and begin settling for second best.

Yes, it’s a tough market but how are you leveraging your leadership as a competitive advantage?

Yet we continue to hear horror stories about poor leadership, and there no shortage of bad boss examples in the media and entertainment industries. For good reason – it resonates with millions of people.

About half of American workers have left a job to get away from a terrible boss. Half! That is crazy! And only 21 percent of workers think their performance “is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work,” according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American WorkplaceSource – NY Timesrunning in woods

So, rather than complaining about the skills shortage, ask yourself what can be done to retain those you have painstakingly trained?

A recent survey conducted by Researchscape for Coding Dojo, found that 56% of respondents believe that employers are not doing a good enough job of preparing their workers with future-forward tech skills, 90% of respondents believe that employers have a primary responsibility to enhance their upskilling initiatives, and 34% believe that employers should invest in improving tech skills for non-tech workers. source How to Overcome the Tech Skills Shortage? Invest in Training Your Current Workforce

Answer: Invest in developing your leaders. Your leaders create and control an environment where people want to come to work and stay for the long haul. They drive engagement. They drive retention. The skills shortage is not about compensation and benefits, nor picnics, parties, and events. You can’t afford to stand by and watch your leaders run people off.

Gallup has done extensive research into what predicts management excellence and has found five innate talents (i.e., natural capacity for excellence) as best predictors of leader’s success:

  • Motivator: They challenge their teams and selves to continually improve and deliver distinguished performance.
  • Assertiveness: They overcome challenges, adversities, and resistance.
  • Accountability: They assume ultimate responsibility for their teams’ successes and create the structure and processes to help their teams deliver on expectations.
  • Relationships: They build a positive, engaging work environment where their teams create strong relationships with one another and with clients.
  • Decision-Making: They solve the many complex issues and problems inherent to the role by thinking ahead, planning for contingencies, balancing competing interests and taking an analytical approach. source A New Solution to the Skilled Workers Shortage

Whether these talents are “innate” or not is a matter for another time, but arguably the five talents above be measured, learned, and developed – utilizing hard data for “soft” side results.

Remember, the one eaten by the bear is only the slowest runner.


After spending more than 20 years in HR working in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and wood products manufacturing industries, Dave now helps manufacturing site leaders launch robust development plans for their leaders in less than 90 days to grow their own pipeline talent – without paying big-box consulting firm fees. Dave successfully led multiple HR functions and intentionally spent time in front-line manufacturing leadership to gain a broader business perspective.

Your comments are welcome.

Dave can be reached at (864) 902-4400 or;